How Have The Texts You Studied Explored Social Values?

1243 Words May 6th, 2015 5 Pages
Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw
Pretty Woman – Garry Marshall (dir. 1990)

The romantic comedy, Pretty Woman (1990), is a film directed by Garry Marshall and is an appropriation on the play Pygmalion, a satire written by George Bernard Shaw (1912). Although both of these texts explore social values that were significant in the twentieth century, Shaw’s play is considerably more critiquing in comparison to the film as he reflects his stance on social class through the plot and his use of language. Pretty Woman and Pygmalion both explore societal values in regards to the independence of women and social class however, societal hierarchy is predominantly determined by wealth in Pretty Woman and through appearance and elocution in Pygmalion.

Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion, places substantial emphasis on the different social hierarchies in the early 20th century. This play was set in London England, where the upper classes believed that their behaviours, in particular elocution and appearance were much more appropriate in comparison to the lower classes. The more privileged classes believed that all the people who spoke articulately were at the top of the social scale, an assumption that was explored and challenged by Shaw through the characterisation and modification of Eliza. In the opening of scene of the play where Higgins was guessing where people were from based on their accents and dialect, he asked Eliza, “…How did…
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