Pygmalion and Pretty Woman

Essay by kezzHigh School, 11th grade November 2004

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The relationship between the texts you have studied and their respective cultural context is significant because it provides insight into the way values have been maintained and changed. Discuss with reference to the text from the past and it's appropriation.

The intended audience of both Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw and Pretty Woman, directed by Garry Marshall was the mass of society at the time of composition. This is seen through the choice of the form of each text, Pygmalion is a play because in the early twentieth centaury this was the popular way of spreading ideas and Pretty Woman is a Hollywood film, a current form of mass media today. Because both texts were aimed at the majority of society they each must represent the views of their cultural context to be popular, which both texts proved to be. As both texts reflect the cultural views of the context they were composed in, a comparison of the two provides a significant insight into the way specific values have been maintained and changed over time.

One of the main values explored in both texts is what each society believes to be the 'perfect' woman. By comparing the way these women in both texts are presented, we are given an insight into the changing status of women over time.

In English society in the early 1900's women were seen as inferior to men and were often stereotyped in the sense of the clothes they wore, how they spoke and how they presented themselves, rather than their personality. Women's inferiority is seen in Higgins and Eliza's unequal relationship, Higgins is clearly presented as the master and owner of Eliza as he 'buys' her from her father and treats her as a "live doll". Eliza is almost objectified by Higgins, representing...