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ARTICLES IN THE BOOK

  1. A Christmas Carol
  2. Adam Bede
  3. Alice in Wonderland
  4. All's Well That Ends Well
  5. A Midsummer Night's Dream
  6. A Modest Proposal
  7. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  8. An Ideal Husband
  9. Antony and Cleopatra
  10. A Passage to India
  11. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  12. Arms and the Man
  13. A Room With A View
  14. A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy
  15. A Study in Scarlet
  16. As You Like It
  17. A Tale of a Tub
  18. A Tale of Two Cities
  19. A Woman of No Importance
  20. Barnaby Rudge
  21. Beowulf
  22. Bleak House
  23. Book of Common Prayer
  24. Candida
  25. Captains Courageous
  26. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
  27. Clarissa
  28. Coriolanus
  29. Daniel Deronda
  30. David Copperfield
  31. Dombey and Son
  32. Don Juan
  33. Emma
  34. Finnegans Wake
  35. Four Quartets
  36. Frankenstein
  37. Great Expectations
  38. Gulliver's Travels
  39. Hamlet
  40. Hard Times
  41. Howards End
  42. Ivanhoe
  43. Jane Eyre
  44. Julius Caesar
  45. Kim
  46. King James Version of the Bible
  47. King Lear
  48. King Solomon's Mines
  49. Lady Chatterley's Lover
  50. Lady Windermere's Fan
  51. Leviathan
  52. Little Dorrit
  53. Love's Labour's Lost
  54. Macbeth
  55. Major Barbara
  56. Mansfield Park
  57. Martin Chuzzlewit
  58. Measure for Measure
  59. Middlemarch
  60. Moll Flanders
  61. Mrs. Dalloway
  62. Mrs. Warren's Profession
  63. Much Ado About Nothing
  64. Murder in the Cathedral
  65. Nicholas Nickleby
  66. Northanger Abbey
  67. Nostromo
  68. Ode on a Grecian Urn
  69. Oliver Twist
  70. Othello
  71. Our Mutual Friend
  72. Pamela or Virtue Rewarded
  73. Paradise Lost
  74. Paradise Regained
  75. Peregrine Pickle
  76. Persuasion
  77. Peter Pan
  78. Pride and Prejudice
  79. Pygmalion
  80. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  81. Robinson Crusoe
  82. Rob Roy
  83. Roderick Random
  84. Romeo and Juliet
  85. Saint Joan
  86. Salomé
  87. Sense and Sensibility
  88. She Stoops to Conquer
  89. Silas Marner
  90. Sons and Lovers
  91. The Alchemist
  92. The Beggar's Opera
  93. The Canterbury Tales
  94. The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes
  95. The Castle of Otranto
  96. The Comedy of Errors
  97. The Dunciad
  98. The Elder Statesman
  99. The Faerie Queene
  100. The Happy Prince and Other Tales
  101. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
  102. The Hound of the Baskervilles
  103. The Importance of Being Earnest
  104. The Jungle Book
  105. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  106. The Man Who Would Be King
  107. The Master of Ballantrae
  108. The Merchant of Venice
  109. The Merry Wives of Windsor
  110. The Mill on the Floss
  111. The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  112. The Nigger of the Narcissus
  113. The Old Curiosity Shop
  114. The Pickwick Papers
  115. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  116. The Pilgrim's Progress
  117. The Rape of the Lock
  118. The Second Jungle Book
  119. The Secret Agent
  120. The Sign of Four
  121. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  122. The Tempest
  123. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
  124. The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  125. The Vicar of Wakefield
  126. The Waste Land
  127. The Winter's Tale
  128. Timon of Athens
  129. Titus Andronicus
  130. To the Lighthouse
  131. Treasure Island
  132. Troilus and Cressida
  133. Twelfth Night, or What You Will
  134. Typhoon
  135. Ulysses
  136. Vanity Fair
  137. Volpone
  138. Wuthering Heights
 



LITERARY MASTERPIECES
This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_%28play%29

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

Pygmalion (play)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
Play cover, depicting Mrs Campbell as Eliza
Play cover, depicting Mrs Campbell as Eliza

Pygmalion (1913) is a play by George Bernard Shaw. It tells the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics (based on phonetician Henry Sweet), who makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can turn a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a refined society lady merely by teaching her how to speak with an upper class accent and training her in etiquette. In the process, Higgins and Doolittle grow close, but she ultimately rejects his domineering ways and declares she will marry Freddy Eynsford-Hill, a young but poor gentleman.

Shaw wrote the lead role of Eliza Doolittle for Mrs Patrick Campbell (though at 49 she was considered by some to be too old for the part). Due to delays in mounting a London production and Campbell's injury in a car accident, the first English presentation did not take place until some time after Pygmalion premiered at the Hofburg Theater in Vienna on October 16, 1913, in a German translation by Shaw. The first production in English finally opened at His Majesty's Theatre, London on April 11, 1914 and starred Mrs Patrick Campbell as Eliza, and Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Henry Higgins; it was directed by Shaw himself.

Shaw based the play on Ovid's Pygmalion. Some have speculated that Alexander Melville Bell was the model for Professor Higgins. Evidence supporting this includes the fact Eliza is not a common name, and Eliza Grace Bell was Alexander Melville Bell's wife. However it should also be noted that in earlier retellings of Ovid's story a similar name is used; Goethe calls her Elise, based upon the variants in the story of Dido/Elissa. The play also owes something to the legend of King Cophetua. The play led to a series of adaptations:

  • Pygmalion (1938), a film adaptation by Shaw
  • My Fair Lady (1956), a Broadway musical by Lerner and Loewe, based on the 1938 film
  • My Fair Lady (1964), a film version of the musical starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison
  • She's All That (1999), modern film take on Pygmalion

Shaw's play shocked Edwardian audiences with Eliza's swearing in the line "Not bloody likely!". Campbell was considered to have risked her successful career by speaking the line.

Joseph Weizenbaum named his artificial intelligence computer program ELIZA after the character Eliza Doolittle.

Plot

Act One

Covent Garden - 11.15p.m. A group of people are sheltering from the rain. Amongst them are the silly, shallow, social climbing Eynsford-Hills, consisting of mother and daughter, Clara. Freddy Eynsford-Hill enters after being unable to find a cab to take them home. He is a weak and ineffectual character. His sister bullies him, and enjoys seeing him look ridiculous. As he goes off once again to find a cab, he bumps into a flower girl, Eliza. Her flowers drop into the mud of Covent Garden, the flowers she needs to survive in her poverty-stricken world. Shortly they are joined by a gentleman, Colonel Pickering. Whilst Eliza tries to sell flowers to the Colonel, a bystander informs her that a man is writing down everything she says. The man is Professor Henry Higgins. A row occurs when Higgins tells people where they were born, which creates both amazement and irratation. One man accuses Higgins of coming from Hanwell Insane Asylum. It becomes apparent that he and Colonel Pickering have a shared interest in phonetics. Indeed, they are supposed to be meeting one another. Higgins tells Pickering that he could turn the flower girl into a duchess. These words of bravado spark an interest in Eliza, who would love to better herself, even though, to her, that only means working in a flower shop. At the end of the act, Freddy returns after finding a taxi, only to find that his mother and sister have gone and left him with the cab. The streetwise Eliza takes the cab from him, leaving him on his own.

Act Two

Higgins' Laboratory - Next Day. As Higgins demonstrates his equipment to Pickering, the housekeeper, Mrs. Pearce, tells him that a young girl wants to see him. She is shown up, and to his disappointment it is Eliza. He has no interest in her, but she says she wants to pay to have lessons, so she can talk like a lady in a flower shop. Higgins claims that he could turn her into a duchess. Pickering makes a bet with him on his claim, and says that he will pay for her lessons. She is sent off to have a bath. Mrs. Pearce tells Higgins that he must behave himself in the young girl's presence. He must stop swearing, and improve his table manners. He is at a loss to understand why she should find fault with him. Then Alfred Doolittle appears with the sole purpose of getting money out of Higgins. He has no interest in his daughter in a paternal way. He sees himself as member of the undeserving poor, and means to go on being undeserving. He has an eccentric view of life, brought about by his lack of education and an intelligent brain. He is also aggressive, and when Eliza, on her return, sticks her tongue out at him, he goes to hit her, but is prevented by Pickering. The scene ends with Higgins telling Pickering that they really have got a difficult job on their hands.

Act Three

Mrs Higgins' drawing room. Henry tells his mother he has a young 'common' who he has been teaching. Mrs Higgins is not very impressed with her son's attempts to win her approval because it is her 'at home' day, in which she is entertaining visitors. The visitors are the Eynsford-Hills. Henry is rude to them on their arrival. Eliza enters and soon falls into talking about the weather and her family. The humour stems from the knowledge the audience have of Eliza, and of which the Eynsford-Hills are curiously ignorant. When she is leaving, Freddy Eynsford-Hill asks her if she is going to walk across the park, to which she replies; " Walk! Not bloody likely..." (This is the most famous line from the play, and, for many years after, to use the word 'bloody' was known as a pygmalion.) After she and the Eynsford-Hills leave, Henry asks for his mother's opinion. She says the girl is not presentable, and she is very concerned about what will happen to the girl; but neither Higgins or Pickering understand her, and leave feeling confident and excited about how Eliza will get on. This leaves Mrs Higgins feeling exasperated, and she says "Men! Men!! Men!!!"

Act Four

Higgins' laboratory - The time is midnight, and Higgins, Pickering, and Eliza have returned from the ball. Pickering congratulates Higgins on winning the bet. As they retire to bed, Higgins asks where his slippers are, and on returning to his room Eliza throws them at him. The remainder of the scene is concerned with Eliza not knowing where she is going in life, and Higgins not really understanding her difficulty. Higgins says she could get married, but Eliza interprets this as selling herself like a prostitute. "We were above that at the corner of Tottenham Court Road." Finally she returns her jewellery to Higgins, as though she is cutting her ties with him.

Act Five

Mrs Higgins' drawing room. Higgins and Pickering are perturbed at discovering that Eliza has walked out on them. Doolittle returns now dressed in wedding attire, and transformed into the middle class in which he feels '..intimidated..'. The scene ends with another confrontation between Higgins and Eliza, which is basically a repeat of the previous act. The play ends with everyone leaving to see Doolittle married, and Higgins left on his own.

Ending

Despite the intense central relationship between Eliza and Henry, the original play ends with her leaving to marry the eager young Freddy Eynsford-Hill. Shaw, annoyed by the tendency of audiences, actors, and even directors to seek 'romantic' re-interpretations of his ending, later wrote an essay for inclusion with subsequent editions, in which he explained precisely why it was impossible for the story to end with Higgins and Eliza getting married.

Subsequent adaptations have all changed this ending. Despite his previous insistence that the original ending remain intact, Shaw provided a more ambiguous end to the 1938 film: instead of marrying Freddy, Eliza apparently reconciles with Henry in the final scene, leaving open the possibility of their marriage. The stage musical and 1964 film have similarly happy endings.

Similar works

Willy Russell's 1980 stage comedy Educating Rita, and the subsequent film adaptation, were also based on the myth of Pygmalion and may have been influenced by Shaw's play.

External links

  • Pygmalion stories across history
  • Pygmalion, available freely at Project Gutenberg
  • GradeSaver study guide: Pygmalion
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_%28play%29"

 

 

 


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