George Bernard Shaw 's Pygmalion

1463 Words Oct 15th, 2014 6 Pages
George Bernard Shaw lived in a time where there was a great divide between the upper and lower classes of England. The rich were becoming increasingly wealthier, while the poor dug deeper and deeper into debt. Similar to American society today, the upper class looked down upon the lower class for their outward appearance (the way in which they spoke and dressed). People such as antagonist Henry Higgins of Pygmalion, in fact, only focused on a person’s facade; they were completely ignorant to people’s true identities. As a social activist during the early 1900s, Shaw chose to introduce the incorrect judgment placed upon working class citizens to his wealthier audiences within his play Pygmalion. Henry Higgins finds poor flower girl Eliza and determines her a lost soul, deciding immediately he could better her as a person through phonetics and etiquette classes. What is unclear to Higgins, however, is that Eliza’s character is already built. In Higgins’ opinion, her accent and outfit of choice are undeniably inadequate. What he fails to recognize, though, is Eliza’s heart and intelligence-her true identity. He makes it his duty to play God, transforming Eliza into what he deems a respectable lady, but pays no mind to her inner self. Shaw uses Eliza’s outer-transformation and her static identity throughout the play to reveal to his wealthier audiences that appearance and identity are not directly correlated.
As the play begins, the audience is introduced to a poor flower girl.…
Open Document