24-03-2009, 11:33 AM   #16
Mary Kari Mary Kari
 
  Mary Kari

 










The pygmalion


THE PYGMALION

Pygmalion is a romantic comedy discussing some vital and crucial issues about social rank, human values and relation between sexes. It depicts the way in which some people believe they are superior and can change and control people's lives just because they come from a better social class.
This essay explains the theme of equality in Shaw's play Pygmalion, the gender role, analysis the developing of the main characters which are used as literacy device to explain ideas and belief, relationships and feeling.

Pygmalion illustrates the difference and tension between the upper and lower class a basic belief of the period was that a person is born into a class and that no one can move from one class to another. Shaw on the contrary, believed that personality isnt defined by birth. Instead, he thought that you can achieve social change if you really believe in yourself. As to the play, the barriers between classes arent natural and can be broken down.

Eliza and Alfred Doolittle, originally living in bad conditions, represent the working class. What happens to Eliza and her father expresses show's belief that people are able to improve their lives through their own efforts. But they have to consider that their character might change as well. Thus it doesn't seem surprising that the difference between a lady and a flower girl lies rather in her treatment than in her behavior. Shaw's criticism is obvious in the paradox of Alfred's character. He is happy being poor and miserable being rich. In the same way, Doolittle shows how difficult it can be to change one's whole personality. Once he becomes wealthy, he adopts behaviors and habits of the upper class and will not mix with people who he thinks below him, in trying to impress others its effect his own character and personality.

The upper class regards background and wealth as decisive and is keen to preserve class distinction. In the play they are represented by the Eysford Hills appearing dishonest toward themselves. They escape from reality and prefer an illusion. This can be explained by that fact that the Eysford Hills are lacking money, but refuse to go earning their own living. Clara can be seen as an exception because she makes up her mind and takes an honest realistic look to her own life



Induction III
Summary: Induction I
Outside an alehouse somewhere in the English countryside, a drunk beggar named Christopher Sly argues with the Hostess over some glassware he has broken in his inebriated clumsiness. While the Hostess leaves to find the local authorities, Sly passes out, and soon a lord returning from the hunt discovers him. This lord decides to have a bit of fun with the sleeping beggar and orders his servants to take Sly back to his house and treat him as if he were a lordto put him in a bed, place rings on his fingers, set a banquet for him, and so on. His huntsmen agree that doing so would be an excellent jest, and they bear Sly offstage.
A troupe of players arrives, seeking to offer the lord their services. The lord welcomes them to spend the night at his home, but he warns them that they must not laugh at the strange behavior of the other lord for whom they will perform. Then the lord tells his serviceman to go to Bartholomew, the lords pageboy, and instruct him to put on the attire of a lady and play the part of Slys wife. The lord wants the disguised Bartholomew to pretend to be overjoyed to see that Sly has recovered from his insanity and to say that Sly has madly insisted that he is a poor beggar for the past seven years.
Summary: Induction II
Back at the house, the servants place Sly in the lords bed with fine clothes and jewelry, and the lord outfits himself as one of the servants. When Sly awakes, they present him with good wine and food and tell him that he is their master. He protests that he remembers being a poor tinker (a mender of pots), and they explain that this memory is but the result of a madness from which he has suffered for fifteen years. They put on quite a show, pleading and wailing in feigned distress at his continued illness, but Sly remains skeptical. However, when his wife is mentioned, Sly is finally convinced. Overjoyed that their masters memory has returned, the servants try to entertain him. Sly attempts to dismiss the servants so that he can sleep with his wife (who is actually the disguised page, Bartholomew), but his wife explains apologetically that his physicians have ordered her to stay out of his bed for another night or two, lest his madness return. The players arrive to perform for the enjoyment of Sly and his wife. The play that they perform constitutes the rest of The Taming of the Shrew.
Analysis: Induction III
The Induction is an unusual feature of this play. None of Shakespeares other plays begins with a framing story, in which a full five-act play is performed within another play. The story and the characters involved in the Induction have nothing directly to do with the main play, and after its introduction this story is only reintroduced briefly and never fully developed. Another play from the mid-1590s, however, entitled The Taming of a Shrew and probably based on Shakespeares work, features Slys commentary throughout the main story. At the end of the main story, Sly declares his intention to tame his own wife as Petruccio has tamed Katherine.
Critics disagree about why Shakespeare begins The Taming of the Shrew with the Induction. The play proper could obviously stand on its own, but the story of the lords practical joke on Christopher Sly does reinforce one of the central themes of the main play. Slys story dramatizes the idea that a persons environment and the way he or she is treated by others determines his or her behavioran idea that Katherines story in the main play also illustrates. The lord thrusts Sly into a playacting world and portrays his new role as coming into being through no will of his own. The lords huntsman emphasizes this when asked if Sly would fall for the deception and forget himself. Believe me, lord, I think he cannot choose, he responds (Induction.I.38). The huntsmans words could apply equally well to Katherine. Controlled by two wealthy and powerful menher father, Baptista, and her suitor, PetruccioKatherine is forced to play the part of a wife, a social role that she initially rejects. The implication that Katherine, like Sly, cannot choose suggests that she is as much a plaything of Petruccio as Sly is of the lord.
The Induction also introduces the topic of marriage into the play. Sly resists all the servants attempts to convince him that he is a lord until they tell him that he has a wife, at which point he immediately reverses himself: Am I a lord? And have I such a lady? (Induction.II.66). Shakespeare emphasizes Slys about-face by switching Slys speech pattern to blank verse (unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter, spoken primarily by Shakespeares noble characters). Before, Sly had spoken only in prose. The humor of the situation is obvious: though Sly is at first preoccupied with making sense of his outrageous change of circumstances, as soon as he discovers that he might be able to be physically gratified, he immediately stops caring whether his situation is real or fantastical, commanding his wife to undress you and come now to bed (Induction.II.113). Shakespeare here playfully introduces a number of ideas that receive further attention later in the play, such as the idea that marriage is something that people use for their own benefit rather than a reflection of some deeper truth about the married couple. Moreover, the roles of class, gender, and marital status, which in ordinary life seem to be set in stone, here become matters of appearance and perception, subject to manipulation by the characters or the playwright. Indeed, the Induction primes Shakespeares audience to think critically about what he will present next.

Pygmalion

Bernard Shaw

Based on classical myth, Bernard Shaws Pygmalion plays on the complex business of human relationships in a social world. Phonetics Professor Henry Higgins tutors the very Cockney Eliza Doolittle, not only in the refinement of speech, but also in the refinement of her manner. When the end result produces a very ladylike Miss Doolittle, the lessons learned become much more far reaching. The successful musical My Fair Lady was based on this Bernard Shaw classic.


Act I
Summary
A heavy late-night summer thunderstorm opens the play. Caught in the unexpected downpour, passersby from distinct strata of the London streets are forced to seek shelter together under the portico of St Paul's church in Covent Garden. The hapless Son is forced by his demanding sister and mother to go out into the rain to find a taxi even though there is none to be found. In his hurry, he knocks over the basket of a common Flower Girl, who says to him, "Nah then, Freddy: look wh' y' gowin, deah." After Freddy leaves, the mother gives the Flower Girl money to ask how she knew her son's name, only to learn that "Freddy" is a common by-word the Flower Girl would have used to address anyone.

An elderly military Gentleman enters from the rain, and the Flower Girl tries to sell him a flower. He gives her some change, but a bystander tells her to be careful, for it looks like there is a police informer taking copious notes on her activities. This leads to hysterical protestations on her part, that she is only a poor girl who has done no wrong. The refugees from the rain crowd around her and the Note Taker, with considerable hostility towards the latter, whom they believe to be an undercover cop. However, each time someone speaks up, this mysterious man has the amusing ability to determine where the person came from, simply by listening to that person's speech, which turns him into something of a sideshow.
The rain clears, leaving few other people than the Flower Girl, the Note Taker, and the Gentleman. In response to a question from the Gentleman, the Note Taker answers that his talent comes from "simply phonetics...the science of speech." He goes on to brag that he can use phonetics to make a duchess out of the Flower Girl. Through further questioning, the Note Taker and the Gentleman reveal that they are Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering respectively, both scholars of dialects who have been wanting to visit with each other. They decide to go for a supper, but not until Higgins has been convinced by the Flower Girl to give her some change. He generously throws her a half-crown, some florins, and a half-sovereign. This allows the delighted girl to take a taxi home, the same taxi that Freddy has brought back, only to find that his impatient mother and sister have left without him.
Commentary
This act is carefully constructed to portray a representative slice of society, in which characters from vastly different strata of society who would normally keep apart are brought together by untoward weather. It is no coincidence that this happens at the end of a show at the theater, drawing our attention to the fact that the ensuing plot will be highly theatrical, that its fantastic quality is gleaned from the illusionary magic of theater. While the transformation of Eliza in the play focuses on speech, each one of her subsequent tests is also something highly theatrical, depending on the visual impact she makes, and how she moves. The highly visual, on top of aural (therefore, altogether theatrical), way in which the flower girl is made into a duchess is emphasized right from this opening act. Under these terms, it should help us to think about the comparison of the artificial makeover of Eliza Doolittle that the phonetics scientist can achieve, to the genuine increase in self-esteem that the considerate gentleman can bestow upon her.
The confusion of the thunderstorm foreshadows the social confusion that will ensue when Higgins decides to play god with the raw material that the unschooled flower girl presents to him. In this act, everyone is introduced in very categorized roles. In this scene, Shaw introduces almost all his major characters, but refers to them by role rather than name in his stage directions: Note-Taker, The Flower Girl, The Daughter, The Gentleman, etc. Furthermore, his stage directions describing where characters stand with every line, particularly in relation to other characters, come across as more than fastidious in their detail. All this evokes a society whose members have rigid relations to one another. The odd, seemingly irrelevant episode when The Mother gives the Flower Girl money to find out how she knew her son's name shows the Mother's fear that her son might be associating with the wrong sort. The incident also conflates a real name with a common term that can apply to anyone; Freddy is for a moment both term and character. By the end of the act, The Note-Taker, The Gentleman, and The Flower Girl have become Higgins, Pickering, and Eliza, respectively. This move will continue through the length of the play, where a less visible blooming of real persons out of mere social positions occurs. If Higgins is one kind of Pygmalion who makes a flower girl a duchess, Shaw is a grander, more total Pygmalion who can will transform mere titles into human names.
Remembering that Pygmalion is subtitled "A Romance in Five Acts," this act strikes us as a rather odd, unceremonious way of introducing the heroes of a romance. For starters, the heroine is described as being "not at all a romantic figure." The hero calls the heroine a "squashed cabbage leaf," while she can do no better than "Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-ow-oo" back at him. The impression she makes on him is abstract (as an interesting phonetic subject) while that which he makes on her is monetary (he throws her some change), so that we get no indication at all that any feelings of affection will eventually develop between these two. Indeed, we must see the play as a deliberate attempt by Shaw to undo the myth of Pygmalion, and, more importantly, the form of the romance itself. Bearing this in mind, it is possible to approach the rest of the play without a preconceived idea of how a romantic play should conclude, and to notice, as Shaw intends, that there are more utilitarian than romantic aspects to the characters' relationships with one another.



God left the world unfinished
the pictures unpainted
the songs unsung
and the problems unsolved
that man might know the joys of creation

Mary Kari