Social Classes In George Bernard Shaw’s "Pygmalion" And The Movie "My Fair Lady"

568 words - 2 pages

George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, is a humorous, yet moral, play that portrays the active social classes and lifestyles in Britain. The play features the main character Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics, who embarks on the formidable task of teaching a flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, how to speak English properly, and then passing her off as a duchess at the royal ball. Pygmalion was later adapted into the film, My Fair Lady in 1964, and although there are many differences between the two, the play delivers Shaw’s central message of social criticism, which is not to interfere within other social classes and not to meddle in society, more effectively than the movie.
There are many distinctions between Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, which helps the play deliver Shaw’s message, which is not to intrude in other social classes, one is the alteration of the ending in the movie. In Pygmalion, the play ends with Eliza leaving with Freddy, but in My Fair Lady, the movie ends with Eliza returning to Higgins. Although this revision may seem miniscule, they drastically altered how Shaw’s message is perceived through each work. For instance, in the movie, Eliza returns to Higgins after the fight, explaining that it is alright to interfere within other social classes, which is against the central message. In contrast to this, the play however, accurately portrays Shaw’s message because Eliza does not return to Higgins because he had angered her. Also, if Higgins had never bet with Pickering, then the two gentleman probably would not have tried to advance her from the lower class to the upper class, and as a result of this, Eliza would not have been angry with either of them....

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