A Feminist Perspective To Pygmalion By George Bernard Shaw

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Marginalization determines the life style of a common man, social behaviour and personal conduct. The researcher has taken the play “Pygmalion” for the marginalization. Through the play, Professor Higgins marginalises the Flower girl Elzia Doolittle. Though she was marginalized by a man, she was unable to come up in society. Professor Higgins does an experiment with Eliza. His interest in Eliza is not a human being but to turn her into a talking machine.

Key words: Male and Female, doubly suppress, divine fire.

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Marginalization is the process of pushing a particular group or groups of people to the edge of society by not allowing them an active voice, identity, or place in it. Through both direct and indirect processes, marginalized groups may be relegated to a secondary position or made to feel as if they are less important than those who hold more power or privilege in society.

Marginalization can manifest in subtle or overt actions including: “Use of derogatory language assuming someone’s accomplishments are not based on merit. Expecting individuals to act a certain way based on stereotypes held about another’s identity. Denying someone academic or professional opportunities because of their identity. (i.e. racism, sexism, albinism)Not providing equal access to certain resources based on membership in a particular group. Assuming preferred pronoun without asking. Assuming sexual orientation without asking. Overlooking, criticizing, or interfering with other’s cultural or religious traditions and values. Systemic and/or institutionalized barriers to access and support” marginalization).

The play ‘Pygmalion’ is written by George Bernard Shaw. He was born on 26th July, 1856. He is the third youngest in his family. He has two sisters. His mother Mrs. Shaw introduced him the field of art. He spends much of his time in Museum, writing novels. Some of his works are ‘Caesar and Cleopatra (1898), Man of superman, Major Barbara, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Pygmalion, Androcles and the Lion, and St,Joan.

Pygmalion is an ancient Greek Mythology. He is a sculptor and a King of Cyprus. He made a statue which is made up of ivory. He then fell in love with the statue. He prayed to the goddess Aphrodite and she gave life to the statue, named Galatea, and he married it. In Shaw’s play, Henry Higgins, a Professor of Phonetics, represents Pygmalion and Eliza Doolittle, a flower girl stands for Galatea.

Here, Higgins plays certain role in Eliza Doolittle. He is a god and a creator of Eliza Doolittle. He teaches her good English in order to change her from flower girl into a Duchess. His task is to change her as a Duchess.

HIGGINS: Stop. Say a cup of tea.

ELIZA: A cappete-ee. (Page no.94)

HIGGINS: Put your tongue forward until it squeezes against the top of your teeth. Now say cup.

ELIZA: C-c-c- I can’t. C-Cup. (Page no.95)

He plays a role of a teacher. Finally, he plays a role of a father, by caring her what she requires. The other side a flower girl is like a child. She learns English. So she is a student. Whenever she makes mistakes, she is being corrected by Higgins; finally, she is remade by a man. He teaches her a morality. It is true that female is considered to be an object of experiment.

There are two objectives i.e. Male and Female. In Pygmalion Man is a superior and female is inferior.

HIGGINS: Well, when I have done with her, we can throw her back into the gutter; and then it will be her own business again; so that’s all right.

ELIZA: Oh, you have no feeling heart in you: you don’t care for nothing but yourself. Here! I have had enough of this. I’m going. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, you ought. (Page no.71)

Here women are doubly suppressed. Generally women are given certain works to do. They are washing clothes, cleaning house, cooking, caring children, giving birth etc. Similarly all these can be done male also except giving birth. Women are depended in some areas. They are lactation, menstrual cycle and giving birth. Higgins is an upper class gentle man and he is a language professor. Whereas a flower girl is a lower class girl. Earlier Eliza Doolittle is not accepted as a woman. Later on when she is remade by Higgins, she is accepted as a woman in the society by everyone.

The social reformation is based upon the phonetic reformation of a woman. In this play Eliza is regarded as a child and as a child. She does not only learn phonetics and manners, but also learns to find out her own spark of divine fire (role of her life, meaning). The play is not only the creation of a woman for a man’s preference. But also the creation of a soul, for a man’s admiration and respect.

Here Higgins plays the role of a life giver as well as a soul giver. Eliza evolves from confusions, ignorance and illusions to coherence, knowledge and reality. Higgins makes everything possible for a poor girl to move up the social ladder into a different social class. For Professor Higgins, this is a professional experiment and his interest in Eliza is not as a human being but to turn her into a talking machine. Finally nothing was changed. It is clearly seen that when Higgins first met Eliza, she was like a statue but by teaching her, he made her a living human being with feelings.


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