Introduction to Western Literature, Fall, 1999
Examination on Drama
1. Please compare and contrast the original story of Pygmalion in
mythology and Shaw's play. You may want to focus your
discussions on the presentation of Eliza and her relationship with
2.Please compare and contrast the ending scene of Shaw's play
and the two moives we have seen in class (Pygmalion and My Fair
Lady). Which ending makes more sense to you and why? Please
provide strong evidence from the play and movies to support your
3. Please discuss the characterization of Eliza. You may want to
focus on her transformation into a lady. How does she change?
What part of her is changing and what part of her is not changing?
What makes her a lady? And what is Shaw trying to criticize with
his characterization of Eliza? (Questions that can help you here:
How does her change of dresses tell you about her
"Transformation”? How does her language change? How does
her behaviors and manners change? Do you think that she has
changed her personality? Why or why not? How would you
describe her performance in Mrs. Higgin's at home party? How
would you describe her performance at the party at an embasy?
How would you describe her appearance? How would you
describe her performance in Act V?)(Sample Essay)
4.Please comment on Higgins' personality basing on what you
have seen about him (i.e. the note-taker, the host/teacher in his lab,
and the son in Mrs. Higgin's at home and the ending scene).
Higgins is described by his mother as being "cynical" when he
makes his " we're all savages" speech. This should remind you of
his other statement about life's being a " series of inspired follies."
Do you also think that he is too cynical?(Sample Essay)
5. Nepommuck. In what way is he different from Higgins? How
does he use his knowledge in his career as an interpreter? What is
your response when he calls Eliza a fraud?(Sample Essay)
6. Language and class differences. How does the division of
social classes become an issue in this play? How is language
related to class divisions? How is the issue of appearance and
reality raised and criticized in the play (hint: Eliza's appearance
and reality being a lady v.s. Alfred Doolittle's advancement into
the genteel class).
7. How do you like the postscript? Do you prefer the open ending
of Act V or the endings Shaw presents in the postscript? How do
you respond to Eliza's choice to marry Freddy? And how
realistic do you think is the presentation that they run a
flowershop successfully at the end? Do you think it is possible in
reality? Why or why not? What do you think the playwright is