Eliza’s Awakening in Pygmalion

Haiyan LI, Rongqian WENG


George Bernard Shaw is a prominent playwright of realism in England in the 1900s, and a master of language, doing well in humor and satire. Meanwhile, he spares no efforts to take part in socialist activities and advocate Fabian Socialism. As to the literary creation, he holds the view that the art should reflect the urgent social problems, and rejects the “art for art’s sake” of the aesthetic theory. He once gained the Nobile Prize in Literature for his idealism and humanism in his works. Someone has evaluated him as an extraordinary writer, but not a qualified politician. His representative work Pygmalion shows that Eliza, a girl in poverty, has gradually changed physically and mentally. She comes to find her self-identity and awakens in all aspects during the period she spends with the aristocrats of the bourgeoisie—Higgins and Pickering. The work also shows Bernard’s Fabian Socialism. Pygmalion has been adapted into a musical called My Fair Lady for its overwhelming literary charm. And then the film adaptation of Pygmalion by Hollywood comes into people’s sight and gains great response. Now it has become household.
The thesis shows the main character Eliza’s awakening in the follow aspects: the visible changes in appearance, such as dressing, language and behavior, and the invisible ones in the understanding of love and the awakening of spirit. She finds herself admiring the aristocrats of the bourgeoisie—Higgins and Pickering. But when hurt by their selfishness and hypocrisy deeply, she consciously gives up this love and has a new understanding of love. At last, she becomes mature and scores of achievements in the awakening of spirit through the ordeals. After seeking for dignity and freedom bravely, she leads a happy life.


Awakening; Appearance; Love; Spirit

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/n


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