An Analysis of Class and Gender Conflict in Pygmalion Essay

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"Pygmalion is a serious analysis of class and gender conflict."

Bernard Shaw's play, entitled Pygmalion, transcends the nature of drama as a medium to be utilized for sheer entertainment value. Shaw's play powerfully comments on the capacity for the individual to overcome the boundaries established by systems of class and gender. Dominant assumptions and expectations may essentially prevent an individual from becoming socially mobile within a seemingly rigid hierarchical social structure. However, Liza, the protagonist utilizes language as the tool which enables the her to escape the confines of the lower class and to be regarded as a human of a certain degree of worth within society. As Liza transforms from flower girl to duchess,
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This is exemplified by Clara Einsford Hill's distaste as others are made aware that she is originally from Earlcourt, rather than her mother's place of birth, which is near Epsom. Epsom is a well known town of wealth and class, as opposed to Earlscourt, which is typically `middle class.' Clara becomes frustrated, as in, 'Will you please keep your impertinent remarks to yourself.' (Shaw, 2003:16) Higgins is determined to clarify the origins of each person's accent, subsequently undermining the sense of class that Clara seeks to exude.

In addition, the way that Shaw chooses to spell each dialect creates a stark contrast between each of the characters. The flower girl's language stands out as being tedious and mispronounced, whilst the reader is made aware that the Einsford Hill's speech is the dialect which is to be considered normal through the spelling of their diction. For example, the flower girl's dialect is represented in such a way: `Wal, fewd dan y' d-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel's flahrzn than ran awy athaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f'them?' (Shaw, 2003:11) In this passage, Shaw makes it quite clear that there exists an obvious difference between the two types of language. Ultimately the difference that Shaw wishes to convey is not only that which is prevalent between the dialects, but the defining difference that separates the certain
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