Question 5: Pygmalion is essentially a battle of wills between the two characters of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins and it is within this that lies the elements of pure comedy? Explore in light of the above statement.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was born in Dublin as a son of a civil servant. In the year 1876 he moved to London where he established himself as a leading music and theatre critic. He began his literary career in 1891 and wrote many plays criticizing the ways in which people spoke. Shaw joined the Fabien society and he was an ardent supporter of socialism He was always an expert in this field, and thus his plays are famous throughout the world today. Each play is full of criticism and humour, mocking society.
Pygmalion is a play, written in 1912, in which George Bernard Shaw brings to life the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, yet at the same time bringing to life and light the true nature of how most people do not respect their language and do not know how to speak it. “The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it. They spell it so abominably that no man can teach himself what it sounds like.” The backbone of the play is a constant battle of wills between Higgins and Eliza, in which the pair constantly tries to outdo each other, refusing to change their demands and views, hoping that the other will weaken and give in.
Comedy is created throughout the play in many different forms. One of the forms of comedy is the battle of wills between Eliza and Higgins just like in the play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ between Beatrice and Benedick. There is dark humour and irony involved. Eliza and Higgins relationship is based on Pygmalion and Galatea’s relationship; however there is a lot of sarcasm, mockery and dryness involved. Comedy is the root of Higgins and Eliza’s relationship.
Higgins and Eliza’s constant arguing and bickering creates comedy throughout the play. They are very different...