Pygmalion: Colonel Pickering

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How Higgins and Pickering treat Eliza Different but yet the same!

The play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is about how a poor simple woman is taught how to become an elegant flower girl by professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering. How come that although Mr Higgins and Colonel Pickering treat Eliza in totally different ways, they still treat her the same? Hopefully this essay will give you the answer to that question. The essay will tell you how they treat various characters in the play, and then compare this to each other.

One of the very first things Mr Higgins calls Eliza is "you silly girl (p11)", and proceeds to tell her only a few moments later "Oh, shut up, shut up. (p11)" This of course is very rude and he shows no respect what so ever for Eliza. This is pretty much how he treats her during the rest of the play. "Be off with you: I don't want you (p23)", "Pickering: shall we ask this baggage to sit down, or shall we throw her out the window? (p23)" are two more examples, from the beginning of act II, where you clearly that Mr Higgins is being very rude to Eliza. But his rudeness is not only concentrated towards Eliza, but to almost everyone he comes in contact with. In the beginning of act III Mrs Higgins tell Mr. Higgins "You offend all my friends: they stop coming whenever they meet you. (p52)" This clearly tells us that Mr Higgins have been rude to his mother friends to, he's offended them so much that they have stopped coming. Yet another example is while speaking to Mrs and Miss Eynsford, "Ive seen you before somewhere. I haven't the ghost of a notion where; but Ive heard your voice. [Drearily] It doesn't matter. Youd better sit down. (p54)" The last sentence here he is yet again very rude.

Colonel Pickering on the other hand treats every one with a great deal of respect. In the beginning of act I, before we get to know all the characters by their real name, colonel Pickering is referred to as "The Gentleman (p6)". A good example on how he...
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