Pygmalion by George Shaw

Topics: George Bernard Shaw, Fairy tale, Pygmalion Pages: 4 (837 words) Published: April 25, 2005
Pygmalion by George Shaw

Shaw "the second greatest English playwright, behind only Shakespeare"

Title- Shaw called Pygmalion a potboiler and subtitled it "A Romance." Thus the play's main thematic concern is romantic in the literary use of the term. It is a play that has a highly improbable plot. Professor Henry Higgins transforms a common flower girl into a graceful lady, like the legendary Greek sculptor Pygmalion carved an exquisite female statue out of a shapeless piece of ivory.

Preface- Of all of Shaw's plays, Pygmalion is without the doubt the most beloved and popularly received, if not the most significant in literary terms. Several film versions have been made of the play, and it has even been adapted into a musical. In fact, writing the screenplay for the film version of 1938 helped Shaw to become the first and only man ever to win the much coveted Double: the Nobel Prize for literature and an Academy Award.

-Shaw wrote the part of Eliza in Pygmalion for the famous actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, with whom Shaw was having a prominent affair at the time that had set all of London abuzz.

-The aborted romance between Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle reflects Shaw's own love life, which was always peppered with enamored and beautiful women, with whom he flirted outrageously but with whom he almost never had any further relations. For example, he had a long marriage to Charlotte Payne-Townsend in which it is well known that he never touched her once.

-The fact that Shaw was quietly a member of the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology, an organization whose core members were young men agitating for homosexual liberation, might or might not inform the way that Higgins would rather focus his passions on literature or science than on women.

-That Higgins was a representation of Pygmalion, the character from the famous story of Ovid's Metamorphoses who is the very embodiment of male love for the female form, makes Higgins...
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