Eliza as a Strong, Assertive Woman in Pygmalion Essays
600 Words3 Pages
Eliza as a Strong, Assertive Woman in Pygmalion
Bernard Shaw’s comedy Pygmalion presents the journey of an impoverished flower girl into London’s society of the early 20th century. Professor Higgins proposes a wager to his friend Colonel Pickering that he can take a common peddler and transform her into royalty. Eliza Doolittle is the pawn in the wager. But little does Higgins know the change will go far beyond his expectations: Eliza transforms from a defensive insecure girl to a fully confident,strong, and independent woman. When the audience first meets Eliza Doolittle she is a flower girl peddling at 11 PM in front of St. Paul’s Church. The audience’s first impression is one of sympathy because she is…show more content… In the scene with the taxi-man, she appears significantly defensive in her response concerning the cost of the cab ride. Eliza feels humiliated by the taxi-man’s sarcastic response to her. From the start of Higgins and Eliza’s relationship, Eliza is treated like a child. Higgins says to her, "If your naughty and idle you will sleep in the back kitchen among the black beetles, and be walloped by Mrs. Pearce with a broomstick." (p. 36) Higgins treats her like this for months until the audience meets her again in London society. Eliza’s first test is at a luncheon given by Mrs. Higgins. Eliza, who is well dressed, makes a remarkable impression on the lunch guests. They are totally taken by her, especially by her confidence, demeanor and articulation. Eliza can only carry a conversation based on two topics: weather and health. When these fail her, she slips back and appears insecure.
After being presented in London society at a garden party, a dinner party, and the reception at Buckingham Palace, Eliza succeeds. Both Pickering and Higgins agree that, " Oh, she wasn’t nervous. I knew she’d be alright."(p.79) As the men brag about her success, Eliza becomes angry. She snatches up Higgins’slippers and hurls these at him with force. "I’m nothing to you--not so much as them slippers." (p.81) Eliza then walks out on Higgins. She is now confidant and no longer acts like a child, but like a strong woman. In the final scene, Eliza asserts herself. She says, "I