“Henry Higgins Bullies Eliza Doolittle.” to What Extent Do You Agree or Disagree with This Statement?

Topics: George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion, Emotion Pages: 3 (996 words) Published: March 23, 2013
Pygmalion is a well-known play written by George Bernard Shaw in 1912. In mythology, Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with one of his statues. In the play, Professor Henry Higgins represents the ‘sculptor’ who falls in love with Eliza Doolittle, his creation. He makes a bet with another linguist that he can pass her off as a proper lady and begins to teach her how to speak proper English. Due to Higgins’ impersonal nature, he treats Eliza badly causing her to leave once she wins his bet. After finding her at his mother's house, he learns that she intends to work for herself and possibly marry an upper class twit she met there previously. He leaves upset, and she comes back to him because she realizes that even though he doesn't show his emotions, he does care for her. Firstly, some of Higgins’ behaviours prove that he does bully Eliza. This can be shown by Higgins treating her like dirt and telling her what to do all the time, like he has control over her. For example, when Eliza is convinced that Higgins is a policeman (when in fact he isn’t) in Act 1, she believes that he will charge her for prostitution after she calls a stranger ‘Captain.’ She panics with ‘much distress’ and ‘struggles with her emotion’. Irritated by her whines and wails, Higgins loses his temper and says “Woman: cease this detestable boohooing instantly.” The use of the word ‘woman’ suggests that Higgins is impersonal and doesn’t even bother to ask what her name is. Also, by saying ‘cease’ we can see that he is using imperative language and this emphasises the fact that he tries to control her. In addition, we know that Higgins is very angry because of the stage direction, ‘explosively’. Eliza reacts with ‘feeble defiance’ especially as nobody has spoken to her like that before. Furthermore, Higgins says “Don’t sit there crooning like a bilious pigeon.” Again, Higgins uses imperative language in his attempts to control Eliza. He also uses natural imagery to portray Eliza as an...
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