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Pygmalion: Social Class and Doolittle

By gciaramella Mar 27, 2014 684 Words
The social hierarchy is an unavoidable topic in the play pygmalion by george bernard shaw. Shaw includes members of all social classes from the lowest (Liza) to the servant class (Mrs. Pearce) to the middle class (Doolittle after his inheritance) to the genteel poor (the Eynsford Hills) to the upper class (Pickering and the Higgins). Shaw highlighted the errors in people’s ideas of how the lower classes lived, and highlighted all the social prejudice, including stereotypical views of women and of the poor. Instead of writing a book about the prejudice and stereotyping, Shaw used the characters in his play, Pygmalion, to put forward his opinions. Pygmalion also showed that whatever class you were in, whether you were born rich or poor, you had a chance to succeed, as we can see with Mr Doolittle and Eliza, where Doolittle is given money by Ezra D. Wannafeller and becomes middle class. When Doolittle ‘sells’ Eliza to Higgins for £5, Higgins offers him £10 and Doolittle says, “Ten pounds is a lot of money: it makes a man feel prudent like; and then goodbye to happiness.” This proves that lower class people felt that if they were to have more money than they needed then they would lose who their personality and become a stereotypical upper class person, having to stay without the higher class’s boundaries and following the rules. The social hierarchy is an unavoidable topic in the play pygmalion by george bernard shaw. Shaw includes members of all social classes from the lowest (Liza) to the servant class (Mrs. Pearce) to the middle class (Doolittle after his inheritance) to the genteel poor (the Eynsford Hills) to the upper class (Pickering and the Higgins). Shaw highlighted the errors in people’s ideas of how the lower classes lived, and highlighted all the social prejudice, including stereotypical views of women and of the poor. Instead of writing a book about the prejudice and stereotyping, Shaw used the characters in his play, Pygmalion, to put forward his opinions. Pygmalion also showed that whatever class you were in, whether you were born rich or poor, you had a chance to succeed, as we can see with Mr Doolittle and Eliza, where Doolittle is given money by Ezra D. Wannafeller and becomes middle class. When Doolittle ‘sells’ Eliza to Higgins for £5, Higgins offers him £10 and Doolittle says, “Ten pounds is a lot of money: it makes a man feel prudent like; and then goodbye to happiness.” This proves that lower class people felt that if they were to have more money than they needed then they would lose who their personality and become a stereotypical upper class person, having to stay without the higher class’s boundaries and following the rules.The social hierarchy is an unavoidable topic in the play pygmalion by george bernard shaw. Shaw includes members of all social classes from the lowest (Liza) to the servant class (Mrs. Pearce) to the middle class (Doolittle after his inheritance) to the genteel poor (the Eynsford Hills) to the upper class (Pickering and the Higgins). Shaw highlighted the errors in people’s ideas of how the lower classes lived, and highlighted all the social prejudice, including stereotypical views of women and of the poor. Instead of writing a book about the prejudice and stereotyping, Shaw used the characters in his play, Pygmalion, to put forward his opinions. Pygmalion also showed that whatever class you were in, whether you were born rich or poor, you had a chance to succeed, as we can see with Mr Doolittle and Eliza, where Doolittle is given money by Ezra D. Wannafeller and becomes middle class. When Doolittle ‘sells’ Eliza to Higgins for £5, Higgins offers him £10 and Doolittle says, “Ten pounds is a lot of money: it makes a man feel prudent like; and then goodbye to happiness.” This proves that lower class people felt that if they were to have more money than they needed then they would lose who their personality and become a stereotypical upper class person, having to stay without the higher class’s boundaries and following the rules.

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