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Pygmalion And Equality Essay

1156 words - 5 pages

Shaw's play, Pygmalion, demonstrates the belief that all people are created equal and all have equal ability and opportunity to achieve and succeed in every aspect of life, by revealing the absurdity of the class system of Victorian England. This belief goes strongly against Victorian era's views of social stature; social roles and classes were regarded as natural and fairly inflexible. Shaw, who was an ardent socialist, saw flaws in this way of thinking, and rebelled against it in his many writings. This can be see in Shaw's treatment of Eliza, Colonel Pickering's behavior, as well as Shaw's portrayal of the upper classes in comparison to the lower classes.Eliza, is in the beginning of the ...view middle of the document...

This helps promote Shaw's want for equality among all people, as it shows classism to be a preposterous proposition, which was created to exclude people, namely those who have less wealth.Colonel Pickering did come from the upper class, and does encourage Professor Higgins in their experiment with Eliza, however, Pickering interests himself in more than just Eliza's transformation to a lady; he concerns himself with Eliza. This differs from Higgins, who seems to lose interest in the whole affair before it is even finished and found it a rather large bore near the end, as he tells Pickering on the night of Eliza's big test. Higgins is willing to simply say good-bye to Eliza and send her off on her own, whereas Pickering sees that it is wrong for them to cast Eliza off, as lower class people have just as much right to the life led by the higher class as the high classes themselves. He would seem to serve as Shaw's voice in the play. For Pickering, much like Shaw, voices his opinion that Eliza is just the same as any of the upper class people he usually spends his time with. From the moment he meets Eliza, he insists on calling her Ms. Doolittle, unlike Higgins who affords Eliza little respect. In this way it is also possible to find Pickering analogous to the world that we have been slowly moving towards since the writing of the play, one of no fixed social strata and equal opportunities for all. Whereas Higgins is analogous to the world of the Victorian era, in which there were distinct social classes that were not easy to move between, as well as terrible discrimination based on one's social class.Finally, it is evident, through the play's portrayal of the upper and middle class, that they are no better or more deserving of their lifestyle than the lower class, and that all people should be equal. Shaw shows this immediately at the opening of...

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