Stepping Stones of Oppression from Social Classes in Pygmalion and A Doll’s House The difference that separates humans from animals is the ability to make our own decisions and not be guided by simple instinct. People can choose who they are, what they want, and who they will become; humans are independent beings. In the books Pygmalion written by Bernard Shaw and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, both demonstrate the hard ships women had to persevere throughout each play. Women in no matter in what social class where oppressed as they fought for independence, making hard choices, and enduring a harsh life. Despite the fact that Nora and Eliza come from two different social classes, both plays address different types of oppression, and how they affect woman. A Doll’s House depicts the hidden oppression of a wife that is not valued and put down. Similarly, the play Pygmalion demonstrates the issue of a woman being oppressed by society, unable to get out of poverty. Treatment by their loved ones, circumstances of social standards leaving them with few options, it is the extreme choice of finally leaving it all behind that these women finally find independence. In both Pygmalion and A Doll’s House, the main characters begin their journey of independence in an oppressive relationship with the people who ought to have helped them. Eliza is living in the gutters with her inability to speak proper English keeping her from going anywhere. Mocked and ridiculed she approaches Professor Higgins in hope of taking control of her life to no longer be an outcast. However in her attempts of changing how society oppressed her for her English. When Eliza first confronts Higgins about teaching her to speak, he replies, “Pickering: shall we ask this baggage to sit down or shall we throw her out of the window?” (Shaw, 38). Professor Higgins takes Pickering`s bet of turning Eliza into a Duchess but for his sake not hers. He believes to be superior to her and treats her cruelly, with no...
Cited: Shaw, Bernard. Pygmalion. Penguin Books: New York, 1916.
Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Ivan R. Dee: Chicago, 1999.
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