Pygmalion: Class is Fixed and Shouldn't Be Fluid

Topics: Working class, Middle class, Social class Pages: 4 (1573 words) Published: March 2, 2014
Comedy should subvert but Pygmalion just confirms the conformist message that class is fixed and shouldn’t be fluid. Discuss. In Pygmalion, the time era is Edwardian, and class can be seen as both fixed and fluid. We can see that Shaw’s intentions are clear, underlying the play, Shaw’s message is clear that the class system is flawed, and that Eliza’s uprising proves this through her strong, subversive attitude. An example of Shaw suggesting that class is fluid in Pygmalion is through Doolittle’s interaction with Higgins. When Doolittle is first introduced at the beginning of the play he is conveyed as a lordly character: ‘’Morning, Governor. [He sits down magisterially] I come about a very serious matter, Governor.’’ We see that Shaw attempts to instantly show Doolittle as well-mannered, this conveys to us that he respects Higgins, and that no conflict is present between different classes. The fact that Doolittle sits down ‘’magisterially’’ hints that Doolittle has a lot of self-respect and pride. Shaw represents Doolittle in a confident way and on a socially balanced presence with Higgins. Doolittle seems full of himself, and isn’t conveyed as unhappy with his life. Higgins, a well off, middle class man; allows Doolittle, a lower class man, to enter into his house. Both Middle class and Lower Class manage to speak and interact with each other civilly. Due to this, it can be seen that class is fluid in Pygmalion as Doolittle retains manners, within his pleasure for life in the lower class, whilst in Higgin’s house. This is subversive because Shaw is trying to convey that a class system is not entirely present here than it should be. Because Shaw is a Marxist, he believes in no class system and therefore it can be suggested here that class is fluid. Shaw tries to show that if people in the era did this, everyone would get along better. However, we see class barriers present in Pygmalion. We can see that Doolittle is of lower class than Higgins as he addresses...
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