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Pygmalian: A Discuss About Social Class and Its Interference in Interpersonal Relations

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UNIVERSIDADE ESTADUAL DE MONTES CLAROS – UNIMONTES

Centro de Ciências Humanas – CCH

Departamento de Comunicação e Letras

Curso de Letras/Inglês

Professor: Geraldo Magela Cáffaro

EUDES MOREIRA COSTA

ESSAY

PYGMALIAN: A discuss about social class and its interference in interpersonal relations

Montes Claros – MG

Setembro/2017


PYGMALION

        Pygmalion is a play, which was written by George Bernard Shaw in 1912. This play is based on a Greek myth that says about an author who created a very perfect sculpture that he fell in love with it, so he prayed to god Aphrodite and asked him to give life to his sculpture and it happened. So, it is about a phonetician named Henry Higgins, he is at the convent garden with a gentleman named Colonel Pickering. Then, they meet a flower girl named Eliza Doolittle, a kind of fool girl. Mr. Higgins feel interested about Eliza’s accent and how she behaves, so Mr. Higgins starts taking notes about Eliza’s cockney accent. Eliza has a totally scrotal behavior, mainly in her speech because she has a “bad English”. Mr. Higgins makes a bet with a man named Colonel Hugh Pickering, another gifted linguist. Mr. Higgins promised to turn Eliza into a duchess in some months, but until this moment nothing is combined, indeed. This bet seems to be just a joke, but it isn’t.

        On the next day, Eliza comes to Mr. Higgins’s house, she is interested in having speech classes. At first, Mr. Higgins refuses the job, but after some minutes he agrees with the proposal and starts giving a kind of tutorial English classes to Eliza. Eliza is having not only English class, but she is learning about manner, that is, how to act, behave and dress like a lady in society. After some months, Eliza is totally transformed and now she is not a duchess at all, but we can say that she is an independent lady and no more a silly girl. Now, she is able to find a career and work anywhere she wants. So, this paper will discuss about social class and its interference in interpersonal relations.

        In almost all this play we can see an emphasis in the differentiation between social classes. In this play Bernard Shaw exposes not only about wealthy, but there are a lot of examples of distinctions, like: in manners, education, language, behavior, etc. In talking about wealthy, at the beginning of the play we see two girls: The Daughter (Clara) and Eliza. They are from different social classes, Clara is high society, instead of Eliza, who is only a flower girl with a cockney accent.

        We see that, while The Daughter is worried about her brother that had not got a cab for them: “if Freddy had a bit of gumption, he would have got one at the theatre door” (chapter 1, page 8), on the other side of the wall is Eliza, a poor girl, who seems to be similar to her in age, trying to sell flowers. That is, if Clara is requiring a cab, we can suppose that she or someone who is responsible for her, is able to pay for it. But Eliza, although the weather is very cold, can not take a cab because she is poor and may have not money enough to pay for it.

                 To talk about language is an essential issue in this play. When Mr. Higgins starts telling about where people are from, it is perceptible that through people’s accent he is able to know about their social classes. In other words, he can describe if they are from a high or low society. For instance, if Eliza’s accent is from a small and poor city, she is probably an ignorant and uneducated girl. A “good or bad English” is enough to reveal who someone is and where he or she is from.

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