My Fair Lady: Analysis of the Play

The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the play “Pygmalion” and the musical “My Fair Lady.”Specifically it will discuss Professor Henry Higgins and how his attitude about Eliza undergoes a change by the end of the production.George Bernard Shaw’s classic story of transformation became one of the most beloved of all Broadway musicals when Alan Jay Lerner turned the story into a musical.In the beginning, Professor Higgins only takes on the task of turning Eliza into a real “lady” because of a bet and because of the challenge of remaking a person into another one, but by the end of the production, he has fallen in love with her, and that makes her transformation truly complete.
Professor Henry Higgins begins this play as a self-righteous linguistic snob, a member of the British upper class, who looks down on anyone who has a lesser social position than he does.As the introduction to the play notes, “‘Pygmalion’ has as its subject-theme the institutions man has constructed to help perpetuate both the privileges of the rich and servility of the poor” (Shaw and Lerner xi).Thus, the play transforms Eliza from a poor flower girl into a “princess” with refined tastes and speech, but it also transforms Professor Higgins from a snobby, snooty professor into a man that realizes he can love, and has found the woman he loves.This transformation does not happen overnight, but it does happen, and it makes both of the characters fuller and more 3-dimensional, along with making them sympathetic and appealing.In fact, Shaw abhorred the distinctions and variances he saw between the wealthy and the poor, and he was a founding member of the Fabian Society, a group that tried to equalize society and eventually transformed into the British Labour Party, so he was quite familiar with the disparities between social classes, and he uses that knowledge with skill in this play (Shaw and Lerner xii).
In the beginning,…


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