The Controversial Ending of Pygmalion Essay

2349 Words Oct 20th, 2011 10 Pages
The Controversial Ending of Shaw’s Pygmalion George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion is a play that has become a classic in today’s world. It is a retelling of an ancient story, of the same name, by the Roman poet, Ovid, in which a sculptor falls in love with a statue he carved. In Shaw’s story, Henry Higgins, an expert in phonetics, happens upon a poor flower girl with awful English and street manners named Eliza Doolittle. Throughout the course of the play Higgins transforms her into an elegant independent woman. The play tracks Eliza and Higgins’s journey and the transformation of their relationship from teacher and pupil to one where both are equally accustomed to the other and have become integral parts of the others lives. Shaw does …show more content…
It is also mentioned that we should not assume that Higgins would marry Eliza since in his eyes, no woman would ever compare to his mother. Shaw then details the future life of Eliza and her marriage to Freddy, and it still is not a perfect one. Shaw does give some assurance that Eliza constantly visits her old home with Higgins and the Colonel, and that Eliza and Higgins bicker just as ever before, but reaffirms his stance that she simply does not like him in a way that is fitting for marriage (Shaw). This simply would not suffice for those reading, attending, and directing the play though. Despite Shaw’s addendum to the ending of Pygmalion, directors still fought for a different ending so as to please their audiences. The production of a movie version of Pygmalion, was started in 1938. The producer, Gabriel Pascal demanded that there be a different ending to please the general public to which this would be released. Shaw, in a sort of compromise, sent him a revised ending that he felt retained the truthfulness of his story. In it Eliza and Higgins have an affectionate goodbye instead of the bitter almost non-existent farewell written in the play, and there is then a scene of Eliza and Freddy happy in a flower shop. Pascal accepted this from Shaw, but secretly filmed the ending that was actually released which included Eliza returning to Higgins and repeating a line spoken at the

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