Essay by richcatUniversity, Bachelor'sA, January 2008

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Pygmalion, written by George Bernard Shaw made its debut in Vienna on October 16, 1913. Due to its great success, Shaw received an Oscar for his work in 1938. I enjoyed this play for its easy to read text and for the classic plot of trying to make nothing into something. Pygmalion is the story of a young flower lady named Eliza who comes from a lower class family. She has dreams of one day working in a flower shop but is unable to do so because of her horrible manners and linguistic skills. In the beginning of the play the Eliza runs into Henry Higgins, an expert phonetician who bets a fellow colleague that he is capable of turning the flower girl into a poised and well-spoken duchess. The bet is accepted and the next day Higgins goes to work on the little girl. I found the plot of Pygmalion interesting because this idea of transforming nothing into something is seen all the time in today's television.

I found it fascinating that even after Eliza is transformed into a member of the upper class, she still decides to fall in love with Freddy. This creates a bridge between the upper and middle class societies. After starting their relationship, Eliza and Freddy open a flower shop of their own and it is assumed that they live happily ever after.

It is also quite ironic that Higgins, a man whom is known to cuss and act very impolitely is considered an expert phonetician. Henry's mom and his colleague Pearce both agree that his manners are quite unacceptable at times. At one point in the play Pearce tells Henry that he must refrain from wiping his hands on his clothes and stop swearing in front of Eliza if hopes to produce a convincing duchess.

Even though the Doolittle's are from the lower class, they have a sense of street smarts that is appealing to the people of the upper class. When Alfred Doolittle comes to Henry for money his unconventional morals and views sway the professor into giving him 5 pounds. Alfred's daughter Eliza is also very street smart, when Freddy knocks over her basket of flowers; Eliza suggests that he has not had a proper upbringing, this pressures his mother into buying several flowers from her.

Literature is defined as something that "entertains while it instructs." I believe that this play was very entertaining and I felt that many life lessons could be taken from its plot and applied to the "real world society." For this reason I think that Pygmalion can be considered a true masterpiece of drama.