This is very obvious with shaw who often makes his

  • No School
  • AA 1
  • 12

This preview shows page 5 - 7 out of 12 pages.

eyes. This is very obvious with Shaw who often makes his characters start out in almost absolute spiritual and intellectual opposition to “a figure possessing superhuman clarity of perception and strength of purpose, whom they never really understand, but who in a series of educational confrontations lifts them to higher levels of self- consciousness and realism in their awareness of the world around them.” (Whitman: 1977, 208) Again, this is evidence that anything is possible, if man really devotes his mind to it. Although Professor Higgins is rude and snobby, he still holds a strong belief in his ideal and it takes a lot of devotion to take an unmolded human being and bring qualities out in her that no one ever thought such qualities were there. Eliza is the primary protagonist that arrests the audience’s attention and sympathy. Her character is portrayed as diligent, hard-working, and inherently intelligent. She is a young woman thrust out into the working world by her equally unwealthy father. Although Eliza’s appearance and actions are quite rough at the beginning, she does improve and allow her own natural beauty to shine through. This is evidenced when her father says after Higgins has taken her in, “I never thought she would clean up as good looking as that (Act II, 46). Apparently, Eliza impresses the other characters with her transformations.
Image of page 5
Metamorphosis and Social Distinction in Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. 19 Eliza’s spirit is as much a part of her as her outward appearance. Instead of cowering under Higgins biting comments and fiery temper she matches his with one equally as caustic. Her intelligence also helps her survive in the world, both the aristocracy and the slums. She shows a true perseverance and loyalty to both her lessons and her teacher. Eliza most likely gains most of her emotional appeal by her unfailing innocence and thirst for knowledge. The conflict of Pygmalion is basically the undertaking of teaching Eliza to rise in society. The motives held by each of the characters differ but the desired outcome is the same. This conflict is probably the most obvious humor in the play for two reasons. One, the audience can relate to the use of slang and improper English in their own speech causing Eliza’s mistakes to be funny. Secondly, is the use Eliza makes of her new found knowledge at Mrs. Higgins’ house. While there, Eliza is trained to stick to two topics, that of health and the weather. Although Eliza has mastered perfect enunciation by this point her subject matter and word choice are not exactly refined. The question is raised, what separates the classes really, if clothing and the way of speaking can do so much for how someone is perceived. Throughout the play, ladies and gentlemen are constantly recognized for who they are through different features such as how they are dressed, their manners, how they speak, morality or their money. It is however noticeable that a combination of all factors is rarely to be found. For
Image of page 6
Image of page 7

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 12 pages?

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors