Living up to someone’s expectations can be an extremely grueling task. If one is too focused on the way they look, act, and talk to please someone else, it can be easy to lose sight of one’s own identity. This can be dangerous because if one becomes too used to this kind of lifestyle, they carry the risk of being trapped in a way of life that someone else sees best fit for them. In the play Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw gives an excellent portrayal of how people in the middle class disconnect themselves from anybody below them. Qualities and morals are basically not taken into consideration at all, but rather how polite, well dressed, or well spoken someone is around others. The audience is given an account of how lower class people, specifically Alfred Doolittle, transform themselves so the middle class will accept them. What he finds out along the way is that he must completely desert his old way of living and put on a front so the middle class people he is around will see him as one of their own. By showing the process of Alfred Doolittle’s transformation, Shaw is able to show that being part of the middle class is not as good as it first seems. Alfred wants to better himself, but once he became a part of the middle class, he had the realization that he would never fully be able to speak, act, or live completely for himself. When the audience is introduced to Alfred Doolittle, he is seen as a dirt poor, uneducated drunk looking for some help from Higgins, a conceited professor of the middle class. While talking to Higgins, it is clear that Doolittle is seen as inferior. Not only does Doolittle talk differently than Higgins, but Higgins also undermines him constantly because he thinks he is above him. DOOLITTLE: Listen here, Governor. You and me is men of the world ain’t we? HIGGINS: Oh! Men of the world, are we? You’d better go, Mrs. Pearce. (26-27).
Once Doolittle even starts to compare Higgins and...
Cited: Shaw, George Bernard. Pygmalion. Mineola, NY: Dover
Publications, Inc, 1994. Print.
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