Pygmalion Essays Society

Pygmalion Essays Society-12
The first section focuses on the social class distinction; Shaw tries to highlight the use of language.

The first section focuses on the social class distinction; Shaw tries to highlight the use of language.In his perception, the language that the two characters used defined their identities.

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He was a “gentleman” who wore gentlemanly “be-oots” (boots).

He could talk in fine, sophisticated, Standard English with clear and flawless pronunciation and was clearly very well educated.

Keeping all this in mind, I came to formulate the research question “How and to what effect does the use of language empower Higgins and transform Eliza?

” Shaw felt that the only way to improve ones position in society was by improving their language.

This essay is a development of Shaw’s frame of thought.

This essay is divided into two sections where each will be analyzing an area of inequality that set back England’s progression in Shaw’s view.Vesonder rightly observes “Even a superficial examination of Pygmalion will show that the main focus of the play is not erotic involvement but the power of language…” Even though learning English for Eliza is like learning a whole new language, this education, helps in emancipating and finding a new identity for her .On the contrary, Higgins is already empowered with a strong sense of self identity due to his use of language and education.Shaw’s parenthetical comment on Eliza’s speech stresses his distaste for the cockney accent.The importance of language is further brought into view when Eliza comes across Professor Higgins in the street, a proud phonetician, who can distinguish everybody’s origin from his/her accent.This non-standard and ungrammatical speech clearly manifests that Eliza lacks linguistic competence.Through Eliza’s poor articulation and social grace, Bernard Shaw also tries to criticize the vulgarity of lower class language.In the Preface, Shaw enthusiastically applauds the new scientific approach to language by phoneticians, “if only because it raised pronunciation above the intense self-consciousness and class snobbery which had always bedeviled the subject in England” Bernard Shaw, signifies that it is language alone that makes the difference between a flower girl and a duchess, therefore endowing “this action line with a fine satiric thrust at the basic artificiality of social ranking” At the very beginning of the play, Shaw presents us with a stratified society in which linguistic competence is one of the indicators of social status. Eynsford Hill asks Eliza how she knew her son Freddy, Eliza responds: “Ow, eez ye-ooa san, is e?Wal, fewd dan y’ de-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel’s flahrzn than ran awy athaht pyin. ” Here, with apologies, this desperate attempt to represent her dialect without a phonetic alphabet must be discarded as unintelligible outside London.He tells her: “Woman: cease this detestable boohooing instantly; or else seek the shelter of some other place of worship….A woman who utters such depressing and disgusting sounds has no right to be anywhere-no right to live.


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