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Explore the Relationship Between Higgins and Eliza Doolittle in P...

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Explore the Relationship Between Higgins and Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion

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  • November 2005
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The two main characters in Pygmalion are Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins. The story has many themes, but the subject of the play I am exploring now is the way two unconnected people can change each other. The question of who triumphs at the end can be answered in many ways. At face value, and probably in his mind, Higgins triumphs – he passes Eliza off as a duchess and wins his bet. He does not realise how sneering and abusive he is of Eliza and therefore for a lot of the play she feels used, abused and objectified. At the beginning of the play, Henry Higgins is an unlikeable, domineering, selfish person with no consideration or fondness for any fellow human being. He dislikes women and he dislikes the working class, so it is unlikely he would ever form a bond of friendship with Eliza. At the end of the play, he has changed, but not as much as Eliza. He is still snobbish, sexist, arrogant and with no manners, but it can be argued that he has learnt a small lesson and become less prejudiced against women and the working class in becoming friends with Eliza. But more than that - Higgins is basically bored with his life; he finds practically all his company irritating and has no wife. Transforming Eliza into a duchess is a welcome challenge. Once he is done, and Eliza gains self-respect, he begins to respect her as well, and also to like her; "Five minutes ago you were like a millstone round my neck. Now you're a tower of strength: a consort battleship. You and I and Pickering will be three old bachelors together." We also begin to understand him a little and see why he is the way he is. When the transformation is complete, he has a friend in Eliza and someone to bring some fun and excitement into his life; "Come back to Wimpole street! It'll be fun!" When Eliza first goes to Higgins, it is the first sign of her ambition and aspirations to be a better person. She knows she is a common person, in a much lower class than Higgins and Pickering, but she...

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