In his play, Pygmalion, Bernard Shaw explores the very facts about the constructive and destructive sides of male power and dominancy over the re-creation of a female. The title of the play calls for an understanding of Ovid’s mythological story and its subliminal messages which also provide a basis for Shaw’s play. In Ovid’s story, Pygmalion, a male sculptor, is granted the power to create a female paragon out of an ivory statue. As a woman hater, Pygmalion’s creation embodies all the traits of a male perspective that echoes itself in the making of a creature embellished with the choices of a male taste. Similarly, in Shaw’s Pygmalion, Eliza is molded with the teachings of her male creator’s profession, which is phonetics. However, unlike a lifeless statue, Eliza needs to improve some other skills in order to exist in a social class she is not born into. In this juncture, this paper aims at defining the roles of male characters in Eliza’s transformation.
Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion, Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins