The Suppression Of Women In Pygmalion Essay

1390 Words 6 Pages
Twentieth century Britain is dubbed the Victorian era in which the woman is just the female of humanity, and that they have certain things to do in society. It is socially accepted that women care solely for the children, the house, the cooking and the cleaning and the men are the breadwinners and disciplinarians. Writer, Bernard Shaw, who was "dedicated to tearing down what he saw as the oppressive veil of Victorian ideal of womanhood-that women are self-sacrificing, pure, noble, and passive" (2215). Damrosch, Dettmar, and Wicke the editors of The Longman Anthology of British Literature argue that Shaw designates the excitement, vigor, and advancement behind women who have exploded out the confines of domestic duty and into the work …show more content…
He is appalled by the sound of Eliza's speech and says,
You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days. Well, sir, in three months I could pass that girl off as a duchess at an ambassador's garden party. I could even get her a place as lady's maid of shop assistant, which requires better English.
Shaw intends to bring Eliza up the social ladder and break the ideal Victorian woman by Higgins coaching her in speech and etiquette. Pronunciation is the object that will enforce admiration or cause disapproval; that will produce esteem or end friendship; that will lock the door or make them fly open. Eliza is transformed into a proper lady and accepted into high society because of her outward appearance and articulate speech not for who she really is on the inside, a poor flower girl. Appearance is just as important as speech to groom Eliza into a well brought up woman. Mrs. Pearce tells her, "Well, don't you want to be clean and sweet and decent like a lady? You know you can't be a nice girl inside if you're a dirty slut outside. I want to change you from a frowzy slut to a clean respectable girl fit to sit with the gentlemen in the study" (2233). Mrs. Pearce implies that appearances and first impressions are what high society is all about, if you do not have what it takes the first time around, you will never get a second chance to redeem yourself. Once
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