Pygmalion, perhaps Shaw’s best-loved play, tells of Professor Henry Higgins attempts to transform the poor, Cockney flower-girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a lady by changing her speech. Higgins hears her speaking one night as she sells flowers, and he says that, within three months, he can change her speech so dramatically that she will be accepted in the highest society. The next morning, she shows up at his door, offering to pay for lessons because she wants to run her own flower shop. The lessons go remarkably well, and Eliza does pass for a duchess at a ball. What Higgins has not considered is what will happen to her then. He has taught her to act like a lady, but she wants love and companionship, something he is not able to give. Henry Higgins is a professor of phonetics who plays Pygmalion to Eliza Doolittle's. He is the author of Higgins' Universal Alphabet, believes in concepts like visible speech, and uses all manner of recording and photographic material to document his phonetic subjects, reducing people and their dialects into what he sees as readily understandable units. He is an unconventional man, who goes in the opposite direction from the rest of society in most matters. Indeed, he is impatient with high society, forgetful in his public graces, and poorly considerate of normal social niceties--the only reason the world has not turned against him is because he is at heart a good and harmless man. His biggest fault is that he can be a bully. Higgins is an extremely interesting character and is also the one making the play a life.
The play's obvious concern is the metamorphosis of a common flower girl into a duchess, and Higgins plays the most important part in this metamorphosis. The development of Higgins character is also important. The play isn't only Eliza's story. We can also see changes in Higgins, 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...
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