English 4 4A
October 15 2012
Metamorphoses in Pygmalion
Pygmalion is a play written by George Bernard Shaw that is based on a poem called Metamorphoses, written by Ovid. The play and the poem are very similar in the themes, but the actual stories are not alike. Ovid’s version of Pygmalion is about a sculpture and its creator who falls in love with a woman who he created and brings her to life. Shaw’s version of Pygmalion is about a low-class flower girl who is turned into a beautiful, polite lady. Although the play and the poem are fairly different, the theme is the same. The main theme for Pygmalion is that transformation is possible for anyone through hard work. Eliza, Higgins and Mr. Doolittle all go through different kinds of transformation (Yeates).
Pygmalion is a Cinderella story about how Eliza Doolittle goes through a drastic transformation from a street person to appearing as a duchess. Eliza, as the main character, is described as a nasty looking person working on the streets as a flower girl. Her clothes are torn, her hair needs washing, and she is very dirty compared to other ladies. However, her distinguishing characteristic that draws Henry Higgins’ attention is her horrible accent while struggling to speak proper English. Eliza is a good girl; there is no discussion of lack of morals or criminal behavior in her. She wants to improve herself, she hopes to transform into a lady (Pygmalion). She meets a man named Henry Higgins who offers English speech lessons. She goes to Higgins with high hopes but is treated terribly. To Higgins, Eliza reminds him of trash; “Shall we ask this baggage to sit down or shall we throw her out of the window?”(Shaw 59) Higgins thinks it over and makes a bet to a man named Pickering, saying that he could completely change this flower girl
into a beautiful, polite lady. Their result is a metamorphosis. She has been transformed into a lady; she has manners, behavior, and diction. Higgins and...