A Comparison Of My Fair Lady And My Fair Lady

978 Words4 Pages
After reading Ovid’s original myth “Pygmalion and Galatea”, Shaw was disappointed with it and decided to take pen to paper and create his own version of the story, thus Shaw’s Pygmalion was created. The story follows the quest of a young girl, Eliza Doolittle, to transform into a lady because of a bet made by Henry Higgins, a gentleman who is knowledgeable in phonetics. Eliza is successfully able to shape herself into a lady however, the book does not end with happy union of Higgins and Eliza rather a deep animosity between them. In George Cukor’s musical My Fair Lady diverges from Shaw’s original play, and has Higgins and Eliza end up together. Therefore ending of My Fair Lady is a “vulgar travesty of the play’s design,” as Nicholas Grene writes because it undermines Eliza’s transformation and it is not a logical ending.
Eliza’s transformation is something that happens of the course of the play in order for that transformation to hold true Eliza needed to decide not to marry Higgins. Shaw even calls the play a “romance in five acts” because of Eliza’s transformation. After the ambassador's garden party, the bet is deemed a success because the host and the guests of the party believe that she is a lady. Even Nepommuck, Higgins’ apprentice who has surpassed him, firmly believes that Eliza produces an “air of divine light… [and that] She is a princess”(Shaw 72). The host and hostess both agree on this, which is meant to signify the success of Eliza’s transformation. However, Eliza’s success at the garden party is not the true ending of her transformation. The true ending of her transformation is when Eliza stands up for herself and defies Higgins thus becoming a true lady. During the entirety of Eliza’s six months of training under Higgins, he treats her atrociously. Upon her arrival, he threatens to kick her out and assaulted her with a barrage of insults such as “squashed cabbage leaf” and “guttersnipe”. He did not treat Eliza like a lady, as a result, she did not feel like a lady. On the other hand, Pickering always treated her like a lady and she gained self-respect from that. Eliza explains that the difference between a flower girl and a maiden is “ how she’s treated” because Pickering “always treats

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