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Pygmalion - Eliza's Relationship - Act I and II

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Pygmalion

In Act I and II of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The story of Pygmalion tells of a

working class girl who gets the opportunity to play as a middle class lady. I believe that Shaw

wants us as the reader to sympathize with the low class

The first impression we get of Eliza is one of sympathy because she is dressed in rags,

with a straw hat covered in soot as she tries to sell flowers on the streets while pedestrians are

unkind to her. Not only does Shaw play on the audience's sympathy for an impoverished Eliza,

but also presents her insecurity to us. In the scene with the taxi-man, she appears significantly

defensive in her response concerning the cost of the cab ride. Eliza feels humiliated by the taxi-

man's sarcastic response to her. It's obvious that she is uneducated and has poor grammar.

As Eliza asked PIckering to buy a flower and he refused, Higgins threw a handful of money into

her basket I believe he was trying to show how to be charitable to the poor.

From the start of Higgins and Eliza's relationship, they treat her like a child. She went to

his home to ask him for help, which could not be easy for a young lady with very little money.

What Eliza originally wanted was just for Higgins to teach her phonetics, to correct her accent.

She had a dream to work as a lady in a flower shop instead of a flower girl on the streets. "They

won't take me unless I talk more genteel" (14), she explained to Higgins. Higgins alternates

between making fun of the poor girl and threatening her with a broomstick beating and then

belittles her even more by pointing out the difference between her sleeve and a hankerchief. In

my opinion we are led to sympathize with Eliza and to somewhat look up to Higgins and

Pickering for putting the next six months helping her, along with clothing her and feeding her.

(2)

In my opinion, Shaw keeps the gaps between the working class and

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