Comparing the Opening Scene of Educating Rita to the Opening Scene of Pygmalion

1821 Words Jul 10th, 2018 8 Pages
Comparing the Opening Scene of Educating Rita to the Opening Scene of Pygmalion

These plays revolve around the theme of an upper class, well-educated man transforming a lower class woman into someone like himself. One is Pygmalion; a play set in the time when there was a very distinct class system and members of different classes avoided each other as much as possible. Educating Rita is set much more recently, when the classes mingled much more frequently and when the class system was much less distinct. However, the differences between Frank and Rita are still very apparent. Both of these are situations which could prove to be quite comical because of the culture clash. I am going to compare the
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Yet when minding his manners, as he does at the parties, he can be a gentleman. If the second meaning of Higgins' theory, that he treats everyone equally at a particular time, is taken as his philosophy, there is one major flaw. Higgins never respects Eliza, no matter who is around. In Act V of Pygmalion, Eliza confronts him about his manner towards her. "He (Pickering) treats a flower girl as a duchess." Higgins, replying to Eliza, "And I treat a duchess as a flower girl." In an attempt to justify this Higgins replies "The question is not whether I treat you rudely, but whether you ever heard me treat anyone else better."

In many cases in Act II, he speaks about Eliza as if she isn't there: "Pickering: shall we ask this baggage to sit down, or shall we throw her out of the window?". When he does, he is very brusque and dismissive: "Somebody is going to touch you, with a broomstick, if you don't stop snivelling. Sit down." He probably does this because he is just a rude man, but it is also because he is a member of the upper class and regards the lower class as worthless. She is also a woman, which gives him another excuse to look down on her. He is very much a man of his time; a time in which there was a very distinct class system, and in which women were not regarded as highly as men were. Higgins is acting as many men would to Eliza in those days.

Bernard Shaw
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