Pygmalion and Society at the Time Essay

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Pygmalion and Society at the Time

In this essay I will be discussing Bernard Shaw's representation of Edwardian Society in 'Pygmalion'. Shaw was a member of the Fabian Society; a collection of middle class people who believed that capitalism had created an unjust and unfair society. They were concerned about the unreasonable and imbalanced class system of the time and wanted to 'reconstruct society', creating an equal and fair civilisation with no class divide, which was so blatantly obvious due to the ignorance between classes. The rich lived lifestyles of luxury; the men would earn livings through land and property they owned and through careers such as scientists, lawyers and accountants.
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Mrs. Higgins' drawing room is decorated with expensive paintings by 'brand name artists' and high-priced furniture. This is a far-cry from Eliza's depressing and dreary surroundings.

There was a lot of ignorance between the two classes, not only the rich taking no notice of the poor and their desperation, but also of the uneducated poor who were not familiar with the rich luxuries for example, Eliza did not realise that Higgins' bath tub was a place to wash people, not clothes, 'Gawd! what's this? Is this where you wash clothes? Funny sort of copper I call it.' Shaw wished to eliminate both types of ignorance in society; not only make the rich notice the poor and their deprived living conditions but also educate the poor to help them to help themselves.

The rich minded their own businesses, disassociating themselves from the poor and their wants and needs. Shaw wanted the middle class to notice the deprived working class; much like Charles Dickens did, and wanted to eradicate the class divide and ignorance between the two. 'Pygmalion' is a story similar to Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' and it too is a persuasive piece of writing aimed at the advantaged upper classes encouraging them to consider the appalling
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