Division of Social Classes through Language: George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion"

1183 Words 5 Pages
An important lesson that has been learned throughout life and the beginning of time is to respect the individual’s content and not their image. It is shown throughout George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion, that different people can be brought together in the same circumstance, being a heavy rain shower in London, but distance themselves so effusively because of outer appearances. The situation between the nonintellectual flower-girl and the sophisticated Pickering, Higgins, and the Mother-daughter is drawn out over the judgment of her poor speech and her value as a person as she constantly defends herself against their prejudice. Shaw uses Pygmalion to show how language shallowly reflects the importance of social classes within the …show more content…
Afterwards, the daughter objects her mother’s actions of formally apologizing to Eliza for what her son had done, by repaying her for the damaged flowers. The instance shows the mother’s class level by means of feeling obligated to do the right thing rather than being rude. However, the daughter’s lack of complete sophistication is made known when she says: “Do nothing of the sort, Mother. The idea!” (Shaw pg. 3). It’s demonstrated through this action that the young girl is not educated enough to act politely and in noble manner, which is shunned by her mother. It also furthers the idea that the social classes are properly represented through language and reflect the types of relationships they have with each other as a result.

Because of the societal differences between the classes, the conflicts between the characters are expected since their monetary self-worth causes them to judge others. For instance, after being bumped into by the son Freddy, the mother becomes suspicious of Eliza for calling out his name; “Now tell me how you know that young gentleman’s name. […] I heard you call him by it. Don’t try to deceive me” (Shaw pg. 4). The mother is so genuinely concerned by the ill-speaking flower-girl’s relationship to her noble son, she tries to bribe the truth from her with money. She finds it overwhelming to think that her son would associate himself with