Feminism in Pygmalion

Topics: George Bernard Shaw, Mary Shelley, Pygmalion Pages: 3 (947 words) Published: May 12, 2013
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Feminism in Pygmalion George Bernard Shaw‟s Pygmalion has been a play that gained academic discussions in various perspectives. Nevertheless, its feminist view has been the most discussed throughout the years. Having been compared to famous fairy tales such as Cinderella, the actual legend Pygmalion, Frankenstein, the readers and viewers of the play can clearly see some modified story lines. This paper will intend to depict the aspect of feminism through George Bernard Shaw‟s play, Pygmalion. The original plot of the myth Pygmalion is about a sculptor (named „Pygmalion‟) who fell in love with a beautiful statue - his own creation. As a result of the love he had for the statue, it later on became a live woman, Galatea. Very much similar to the original myth, Shaw uses the idea of „creation‟ into his own play. In Shaw‟s play, the role of Mr. Higgins is that of Pygmalion, or can be considered God; the father and creator of mankind. Eliza plays the role of Galatea, or mankind; the child, the weak, and the one being corrected. This „creation‟ of Higgins, proves to be a masterpiece in the end, and even Higgins wants to keep her, not as his bride, but as his object of creation. It is clearly shown that woman and man had an unequal relationship; man being superior and woman inferior. The difference is shown since the beginning where the Higgins is portrayed as an upper-class gentleman and Eliza as a girl from the lower class society. Higgins suggests that the social reformation is based upon how woman speaks; the words and sounds. George Bernard Shaw‟s plays and novels are all based on his past experiences and his beliefs. The reason people argue that he was a feminist was for various reasons. One of them was because of his mother Lucinda Elizabeth Gurly Shaw, or better known as

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Bessie Shaw, was a woman with strong beliefs. While she still stayed with her family, she was devoted into music, hoping to become a concert star and not devoting...

Cited: Chen, Li-Hua. "A Feminist Perspective to Pygmalion." Canadian Social Science 2nd ser. 2 (2006). CSCanada. Web. Nov.-Dec. 2011. .
Innes, Christopher D. The Cambridge Companion to George Bernard Shaw. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 2000. 225+. Print.
Miles, Geoffrey. Classical Mythology in English Literature : a Critical Anthology. London: Routledge, 1999. Print.
Morgan, Margery. Bernard Shaw, 'Pygmalion ': Notes. London: Longman York, 1980. Print.
Shaw, Bernard, Sandie Byrne, and Warren Sylvester Smith. George Bernard Shaw 's Plays: Contexts and Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002. Print.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin., and J. Paul. Hunter. Frankenstein: the 1818 Text, Contexts, Nineteenth-century Responses, Modern Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. Print.
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