G.B. Shaw - Pygmalion, review

Genre: comedy of ideas, social drama, problem play

Subject matter: education, language, social / personal development, self-confidence / realisation

Theme: social problems, class differences. The idea is that everyone can become lucky, beautiful and well behaved if there are suitable conditions. There is also expressed question what to do next with people who were recreated unnaturally. There are also described unequal rights between men and women and different social classes – Act1 when Mr Higgins shouts at Eliza that the girl (being) like she is doesn’t  have any right to be alive nor to stay with him under one shelter.

Setting: London, Mr Higgins’s flat at Wimpole Street, Mrs Higgins’s flat, and garden – drawing room drama

Point of view: 3rd person

Style: diction – informal (cockney – Eliza and Mr Doolittle), formal (Higgins, Pickering, later Eliza)

Tone: wit,

Characters: Eliza Doolittle – the flower girl born at Lisson Grove

Professor Henry Higgins – pronunciation expert (note taker)

Colonel Pickering – a linguist of Indian dialects, thanks to him Eliza developed into a lady

Mrs. Higgins – Higgins’s mother

Mrs. Pearce – Higgins’s housemaid – she warns him that he is not proper teacher for Eliza.

Clara, Freddy and Mrs Eynsford Hills, Mr. Doolittle – Eliza’s father – sold her for 5 pounds and got large amount of money from a millionaire to propagate morality - irony, marries Liza’s mother-in-low

Nepomuck – Higgins’s pupil – language expert


1) Two old gentlemen and some other people (Eynsford Hill’s) meet under one shelter during the rain at Covent Garden. One man (note taker) is a famous phonetician and the second is a linguist of Indian dialects. 3) There is also Eliza Doolittle offering flowers to one of the gentleman, as she speaks the note-taker takes notes and makes fun of her. She thinks he is a policeman 4) next day Eliza appears in Higgins’s flat offering him one shilling per lesson to teach her right pronunciation in order to become a flower girl in a shop. 5) At first Higgins mocks upon her but later he counts up that she offers too much and thinks that he can do the experiment and win a bet he made with Pickering. 6) Higgins teaches Eliza with Pickering’s support and help of his mother. 7) During ambassador’s party nobody knows Eliza’s background, language specialist, Nepomuck, thinks she is a duchess from Hungary – the bet is won. 8) Problems began, Eliza realizes her position and argues with Higgins and leaves to Mrs. Higgins. 9) Colonel and Higgins find her at his mother, here Eliza finds out that her father is rich man, thanks to Pickering for treating her as a lady. 10) Eliza leaves with Freddy – Higgins assumes she will return to him.

They returned had shop which was financed by Pickering but later found out that they didn’t have to follow rules set by colonel and Henry because shop worked quite well alone. Eliza and Fred married – colonel gave present worth 500 pounds.


I want be a lady in a flower shop stead of selling flowers at the corner of Tottenham court road but they won’t take me unless I can talk more genteel.