Analyzing the Relationship Between Professor HIggins and Eliza Doolittle Essay

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The setting is in Covent Garden, London. It is 11:15 pm, pouring summer rain, when Professor and phonetic scientist Henry Higgins rudely and arrogantly first confronts Eliza Doolittle, a poverty-stricken flower seller from Lisson Grove, regarding her accent and her background. Not long after, the Professor will be giving her a new wardrobe, buying her jewelry,   teaching her lessons on proper etiquette and correcting her Cockney accent to a posh, more formal enunciation. Eliza occasionally is impertinent and speaks her mind without the weight of the aristocratic class decorum and without worrying about the fact that the elite might be thinking of her as anything but a Lady. Her conduct can be poor at times when around Higgins, even though Eliza seems to be perfectly polite to everyone else. In certain instances, however, Eliza shows Higgins that his efforts at teaching her proper upper-class manners have succeeded and in fact she truly makes him proud with the way she carries herself. The complex relationship between the Professor and the young Cockney becomes so convoluted at times that not even the Professor himself can identify the emotions he feels for Eliza as unrequited love or outright affection. Indeed, George Bernard Shaw has so masterfully camouflaged Higgins’s feelings for Eliza and Eliza’s feelings for Higgins that the audience and readers are left wondering whether the two will marry.
After discourteously insulting Eliza within moments of meeting her (“A woman who utters such depressing sounds has no right to be anywhere—no right to live” (8), etc.), Higgins offers her lessons to change her way of speaking, to which she promptly declines. The next day, after rethinking the offer, Eliza comes to Higgins’ house to accept his offer to reform her manner of speech and offers to pay for these lessons. Higgins is not convinced at first, but is eventually persuaded by his friend, Colonel Pickering, with a bet in mind. Eliza’s dream is to work in a real flower...

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