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Shaw and Cukor's Appropriations of The Pygmalion Myth

            Both Shaw and Cukor have appropriated the Pygmalion Myth, in their works, Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, respectively. Aspects such as contexts, era of composition, and their intended purpose for their texts has influenced their appropriations.
             Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, is a play of the appropriated myth, Pygmalion. In the play Eliza is Galatea, and Henry Higgins is Pygmalion who transforms Eliza into his impression of a perfect woman. This play embodies themes and subjects closely related to Shaw and his past. In the play Eliza's background and mannerisms not only provide comedy, but a major aspect of the overall conflict. She is the main character that soaks up the audience's attention and sympathy. Her character is portrayed as diligent, hard working, and intelligent to an extent. She is a young woman working in a world by her equally lower class father. Although Eliza's appearance and actions are quite rough at the beginning she does improve and allow her own natural beauty to shine through. This is evidenced when her father says after Higgins has taken her in, "I never thought she would clean up as good looking as that (Act II)." .
             Higgins on the other hand, is the complete opposite to Eliza, but during times in his laboratory Eliza can identify with him very well i.e. the area of sociality. Shaw has used the characters of Higgins and Eliza to express his own thoughts about how society is run in his era. In the end after Higgins has moulded Eliza into his special creation, she develops her own defiant self that is totally independent from her creator. This illustrates Shaw's dislike of overdone romantic plays with unrealistic endings, whereas Pygmalion had a romancing ending.
             Another theme that Shaw portrays in his play is based around the social classes. Shaw had done this to convey his opinion on the way that society operated during his era. Examples in the play are the characters Eliza, Mr Dolittle, and the Enysford Hills, who are all poverty stricken.

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