"Middle Class Morality in Pygmalion" Based on Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw

Topics: Social class, Victorian era, London Pages: 2 (541 words) Published: January 12, 2009
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Middle Class Morality in Pygmalion

Pygmalion is a brilliant play written by Bernard Shaw that gives us an idea of the value in the Victorian era through the witty and rousing lines of his characters. The message Shaw tried to limn through his genius work is vividly drawn and is dearly ambiguous to anyone who is paying attention. In Pygmalion, Shaw focused his theme on the Victorian decorum of the contemporary society, which is named in many parts of Mr. Doolittle's speech in the play as the "middle class morality".

In the Victorian times, the rich were distinguished from the poor vehemently as they lead distinct lives-they dress differently, they act differently and they even speak differently. Above all, the ethics exercised by the rich deviates from the poor, if there were any for them in the first place. Thus, nothing is expected from a pauper whereas everything is expected from a sufficient (middle class).

The first and most potent item of middle class morality is the obligation of men to protect and foster women regardless it is needed or not. In the very first act of Pygmalion such burden is observed through the harsh demands of Clara (woman) to Freddy (man), compelling him to find a taxi for her. Freddy, as uneager as he was, still obliged and carried out his role in the middle class morality, only to find that his endeavors were in vain as his darling mother and sister were long gone upon his return. Another example of this is also from Act I, where nosy bystanders (men) stood out for Eliza (woman) with the silly sense of heroic conquest to save her from the vile Higgins and his notes, but soon learnt that it was merely a mistake. These deeds, however, were not chivalry, they were more like the empty prayers before dinner made in a sanctimonious fashion-a hypocritical routine.

On the other hand, women also bears expectation from men and other women during Victorian times to find a wealthy man to support her because she isn't...
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