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The Art of Speech in the Play Pygimalion Essay

Decent Essays
The interchange between language and social class can be symbolized through Shaw’s characters. The author uses different characters to portray different aspects of class divisions. England’s social class, as a major theme, was clarified greatly through the art of speech. Throughout most of civilization, people have been divided in classes. There is the rich and powerful, the middle class who are less powerful but nonetheless respected, and the incapable poor. The author cleverly bestows his characters’ their own identity, by giving each a language and speech that suits their bubble of reality: their own social class. Shaw depicts members of all social classes, the lowest being Liza, known for her London’s working class cockney accent.…show more content…
In this way, he draws our attention to his own art, and to his ability to create, through the medium of speech, not only Pygmalion's Galatea, but Pygmalion himself. When Higgins offers to help Eliza become a lady, merely to win a bet, he did not realize the consequences behind it. Higgins was not accustomed to the life of a working class, and so neglected the position Eliza would be put in. When Eliza is transformed to a lady, she finds it hard to adjust in the upper class with her new identity. Her complete agitation to her new character makes her loathe the day she asked Higgins for lessons. This can be shown when the author said, “Oh! If only I can go back to my flower basket! Why did I give up?” Eliza, like her father, realizes that class mobility changes ones’ identity. In light of the transformation, what happened to Eliza and her father expresses Shaws’ belief that people are capable in improving there lives with the cost of changing their character. Thus, it does not seem astonishing that the difference between a lady and a flower girl lies “rather in her treatment than in her behavior”.

Shaw also successfully portrays the difference in social class based on appearance. Within the book, readers find that the author took time in describing each character’s appearance. This is to show how appearance plays a major role in indicating ones class. At the beginning of the play, Eliza is described as a filthy common beggar from the way she spoke and dressed, by
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