Henry Higgins

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  • Topic: Plays, Higgins, Texas
  • Pages : 4 (1403 words )
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  • Published : October 19, 2010
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Henry Higgins

Higgins is an extremely interesting character and the life of the play. Although the play's obvious concern is the metamorphosis of a common flower girl into a duchess, the development of Higgins' character is also important. The play isn't only Eliza's story. One also detects changes in Higgins or to be more precise he appears to the reader in a new light at the end. This is seen when he tells Eliza that he has grown accustomed to seeing her face and hearing her voice. This is not much of a sensitive display of emotions but it is quite different than the savage invective he hurled at her at the beginning of the play in Covent Garden.

Higgins is portrayed as being highly educated. Apart from being a professor of phonetics, he has a deep reverence for literature and fancies himself as a poet. In all seriousness he thinks highly of "the treasures of (his) Mittonic mind." He is self-indulgent, whimsical, and ill mannered when it comes to interacting with other people.

Higgins is not a man given to extravagant aesthetic tastes. The walls in the Wimpole street laboratory are not adorned by paintings but by engravings. His passionate fondness for sweets and chocolates stands out in comic contrast to his seriousness and austere mode of living. Higgins' most prominent characteristic is his restlessness and the consequent inability to sit still. He is constantly tripping and stumbling over something. For instance, in Act Three, Shaw writes in the stage directions that Higgins's sudden arrival at his mother's at home is accompanied by minor disasters - "He goes to the divan, stumbling into the fender and over the fire-irons on his way; extricating himself with muttered impatiently on the divan that he almost breaks it". These quirks and oddities of his character contribute to the laughs in the play and place Higgins in the tradition of the comic hero.

It is obvious that simply as a professor of phonetics Higgins would not have been very...
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