Pygmalion: Eliza's Transformation

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Eliza’s Transformation In Bernard Shaw’s novel Pygmalion its evident to the reader the power struggle between the male and female characters. Towards the end of the play, we can see the true lady Eliza has grown into. In act 3 she states “I don’t think I can bear much more. The people all stare so at me. An old lady has just told me that I speak exactly like Queen Victoria.(Shaw67)” This is a key moment in the play, because the reader can see Eliza’s true desire to ultimately fit in with the elegant women of the higher social class . Before this moment, Eliza wanted to be compared to the queen, but now she realizes she sticks out for, in her mind, the wrong reasons. Prior to her metamorphosis Eliza was alienated by society for her barbaric nature, but after she learns the importance of phonetics she is once again alienated for being exceedingly eloquent. This is ironic because the once poor uneducated flower girl has surpassed the social status of the women she once envied. Eliza's "Cinderella like" transformation is based on the gender roles placed by society. By Higgins manipulatively transforming this pauper into a princess, for his own personal pleasure, he creates the “ideal woman”. The plot of Shaw’s Pygmalion is no doubt the creation of woman, more specifically, the creation of a duchess from a vagrant. Higgins is shown in a god-like aspect where he plays the role of father and creator to Eliza, whereas Eliza is portrayed as an incompetent child who needs to be corrected and reshaped by man. From the initial start of the play we can see the unequal relationship between Higgins and Eliza: Man is superior and women are his subordinates. Higgins is painted as a classy language professor, while Eliza is only portrayed as an uneducated “creature”. Shaw shows this major contrast between the genders to imply the inferiority women hold compared to men. The
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