Pygmalion, a famous play which is also recognised as ‘My Fair Lady’ is a story of a flower girl — Eliza Dolittle and Professor Higgins. The plot is rather interesting and full of depth.
Beginning with the most interesting question, why Pygmalion? Several people may know about the tale of Pygmalion…he was a sculptor who fell in love with a sculpture that he created. Rather convenient, no? He could look at it all day. But, he wanted it to be alive, and as he silently confessed his love at Aphrodites’ Festival and asked for a wife who is just like the sculpture, his wish was granted. The sculpture came to life as Galatea as he kissed her, they got married, and lived happily ever after.
What George Bernard Shaw created, I feel, is a realistic version of the same mythological story. But reality, of course, has to have its adverse effects. The main point is, that we humans do not value the things or people that we already have. Otherwise, why would Higgins’ behaviour push Eliza away from him? Sadly, life doesn’t work that way. Going into details, we do know that Eliza wins a battle of words against Higgins, gaining her independence and pride. Furthermore, she goes on to marry Freddy. Why? She loved Higgins after all and so did he love her. But, Higgins knew that the lady Eliza had become was because of him.
In that opinion, he was in a misconception that she was nothing without him. Such an irony…he transformed her into a lady who would be respected by the world, but he himself forgot to respect her. He thought that she would ultimately end up with him, unlike what happened with Pygmalion. Pygmalion valued Galatea because he knew that her becoming a human was impossible and he had to fear never achieving love that he so dearly craved.
The plot twist, therefore, is what I love most about the play. I am not very fond of Freddy, but the very fact that Eliza stood against Higgins for her pride makes me feel content. We need more characters like these in books because behind the disappointment of Higgins and Eliza not being together, lingers a satisfaction that Eliza knew her worth.