Pygmalion Essays Society

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This non-standard and ungrammatical speech clearly manifests that Eliza lacks linguistic competence.

Through Eliza’s poor articulation and social grace, Bernard Shaw also tries to criticize the vulgarity of lower class language.

He was determined to raise the social consciousness of his audience while emphasizing the use of language.

Shaw portrays this through Higgins and Eliza in Pygmalion who are at the opposite ends of society.

He tells her: “Woman: cease this detestable boohooing instantly; or else seek the shelter of some other place of worship….

A woman who utters such depressing and disgusting sounds has no right to be anywhere-no right to live.Shaw’s parenthetical comment on Eliza’s speech stresses his distaste for the cockney accent.The importance of language is further brought into view when Eliza comes across Professor Higgins in the street, a proud phonetician, who can distinguish everybody’s origin from his/her accent.He was a “gentleman” who wore gentlemanly “be-oots” (boots).He could talk in fine, sophisticated, Standard English with clear and flawless pronunciation and was clearly very well educated.Shaw critiques how language acts as a determinant of not only social status but also social acceptability.It’s ironic how this division of social inequality is mirrored by Henry Higgins who in transforming Eliza is given great social significance.Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulating speech: that your native language is of Shakespeare and Milton and the Bible: and don’t sit here crooning like a bilious pig.” The cockney accent is one of the main determiners for her class.Eliza being told that she has no right to live because of her colloquial accent shows that she doesn’t possess power of being able to feel confident and stand up for herself against such crude remarks.This essay is a development of Shaw’s frame of thought.This essay is divided into two sections where each will be analyzing an area of inequality that set back England’s progression in Shaw’s view.


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