Introduction: By analyzing the ups and downs of the life of Eliza, the essay explores the characteristics of the secular class and sexism, and analyses the whole process of herself consciousness and the awakening of the mind, so as to explore the fundamental way for women to realize their self independence.
Ⅰ. Inspired by Greek mythology, Bernard Shaw wrote the ups and downs of Eliza, the Flower girl.
The myth of Pygmalion comes from Ovid's Metamorphosis; Vol. Pygmalion is the king of the island of Cyprus and is a famous sculptor. He is determined to live alone forever because he is disgusted with the depravity and debauchery of women. Once he carved a portrait of a girl with ivory and fell in love with his own work, he prayed for the life of the statue given by Aphrodite. The Eros fulfilled his desire to turn the statue into a beautiful woman called Galadia, and finally they married....
Inspired by the above Greek mythology, Bernard edited the story of Eliza, the Flower girl. She begins as a dirty, ignorant, utter-dialect-spoken flower seller in the London street under the language training directed by Higgins, the linguist, becomes a duchess temporarily. But for this moment, Game is over for Higgins. The changes of Eliza have proved the success and ability of the Linguist. But where can Eliza do from here? Neither is she duchess, nor flower girl any more. Luckily, Freddy falls in love with Eliza and had a happy ending with her.
Ⅱ.Analyzing the personality characteristics and psychological changes of Eliza, the flower girl as well as Higgins, the Linguist.
Eliza, the Flower girl, firstly is a rude, poor and dirty girl with utter-dialect-spoken. She sells flower across the street for a living, where is full of crowded people as well as cars. There are no days and nights for her almost. But she is lively and cheerful as she tries to sell people flowers. She is, after all, very young so that she has not been worn down by her hard life. After being the target of Higgins, she is exquisitely dressed, producing a remarkable distinction and beauty. All the guests rise and applause. Her beauty shocked so-called high society completely. Before the phonetic training, Eliza speaks the simple and uncultured language with a vulgar, cockney accent. After training, her way of speaking has totally changed. She can greet her guests in propter manner. And her speech is wonderful as well as her voice. Freddy even falls head over heels in love with her. Encountered by this, she is shocked and seems wakening up. She begins to realize how different the present “her “with before “her”. How different and sad life she lives before ! Now she gets respect and love from the distinguished people who look down upon her absolutely. She has never wanted to keep this life like before. Then she even pays Higgins to continue teaching her in language. She begins to fight back while Higgins shouted at her. Furthermore, she finds self-respect for herself and wants to live her own life as personal thinking. As a result, she left Higgins and chooses Freddy as her life partner. By hard working, they finally own a happy life ever after.
Higgins is not so much a teacher as a scholar who is almost crazy about phonetics. English is the most sacred to him because it is the language of Shakespeare and Milton. He has a high phonetics talent and extraordinary judgment, and is very sensitive to the pronunciation of people around him. Anybody who defiles the sacred language of English makes him intolerable. He is obsessed with his own work, and, like many scientists who are focused on work, he is arbitrarily involved in life and even paralyzed. As a professor who taught others how to use proper language, he himself was indecent and cursed. Such a Higgins who is contrary to the traditional "teacher" image adds a strong ironic effect to his work. The linguist basically is selfish, ill-mannered, and proud of reputation and look down upon woman. He even said ，“I would not waste my time with young woman. They are all idiot. I found that once I make friends with women, she will become jealous and fussy. She broke everything.” Just like Pygmalion in Greek mythology, Higgins chose to reject all women.
In his eyes, Eliza was completely his experimental product—the relationship between the experimenter and the test subject. He ordered the maid to peel off Eliza's clothes and wrap her up with paper (like wrapping an item) before she replaced her new clothes. When Mrs. Pierce complained that she had nowhere to place Eliza, he ordered her to put Elisa in the trash — Higgins's attitude can be imagined. It is not hard to imagine that Eliza's lame voice is enough to allow Higgins to treat her as trash.
After several months training, Eliza speaks elegantly with beautiful dress, and is regards as Duchess. Higgins is very happy and proud of himself and thinking his test is very successful. At same time, he also realizes changes of Eliza in mind, and found her more confident and self-respect than before. But due to his pride and cruelty in nature, he still regard Eliza a test subject as whole and want to control her fate later on.
Ⅲ. Exploring the nature of Secular class and gender discrimination in the background of that Era.
In Shaw's time, the standard pronunciation was extremely popular. Voice is a sign of a person’s social status. Dialectal dialects are disdained by the upper classes. Just as in the preamble of The Flower Girl, Shaw pointed to the social implications implied by language: “When a Briton speaks, another An Englishman has shown a contemptuous look.” The importance of language and pronunciation has a lot to do with changes in the social structure: in 1762, “speech was only an ornament for one person to talk about.” By 1833, speech had developed into Social identity symbol of a person. In the UK, Standard London English is the most proud Noble accent of the British. A beautiful accent not only sounds comfortable, but also represents a person’s identity and status.
Higgins and Eliza come from two different classes in society and they are unequal in their initial cultural accumulation. When children are born, they are separated by society and grow up in different environments. They will have different languages and eating habits, even physical postures will be different. Furthermore, at that time, woman also can not control their own fate, even in upper class. Higgins has said， “
I would not waste my time with young woman. They are all idiot. I found that once I make friends with women, she will become jealous and fussy. She broke everything. ” You can see clear even in upper class, woman is still regarded as kind of belonging of man. They make up and try to amuse man. It seems that their life goal is to meet the demand and requirement of man. No doubted, Eliza, a Flower girl, is absolutely looked down upon by Higgins.
Ⅳ. Researching and looking for the basic method for women to achieve self independence.
After training, Eliza has becomes a duchess with beautiful dress and sweet voice. But she feels even more desperate than before. Good looking and standard tone can not change her social and economic status. Then she tried to sell flower again to earn money for living. Unfortunately, she could not adapt that life anymore. Finally she finds love from Freddy and running a flower store together. Then they live a happy life ever after. The experience of Eliza has shown us only good education can produce self-respect and independence of woman.
Around 1870 in UK, A large number of schools appear for woman. Women in the lower classes have improved their own cultural standards through learning
The prosperity of women’s education has greatly increased the number of female teachers, which has expanded women’s employment channels. Make women more self-respect and independent.
"Pygmalion" is the famous satire drama of the Irish playwright Bernard Shaw. Describes the story of how a professor trained a poor florist and eventually succeeded in being accepted by a high society. He criticized the British consciousness of corruption and conservative hierarchy. In Shaw's time, the standard pronunciation was extremely popular. Voice is a sign of a person’s social status, and dialects and dialects are despised by the upper classes. The tragic encounters of the bottom characters of the society are described, objectively showing the social outlook of Britain at that time, and at the same time revealing more deeply the social issues in Britain at that time. Therefore, Eliza’s ethical environment, the ethical appeal to society, and the change of ethical identities are the best footnotes for Shaw’s concern with social issues. Based on Eliza’s ethical environment for making identity choices, she explores Elisa’s motivation to change her identity and the ethical identity she has experienced so that she can find the root cause of her ethical dilemma as the ethical value of Shaw’s social problem drama.
Based on mythological stories, George Bernard Shaw, has designed a completely different ending. He is a famous advocate of the Western feminist movement， advocating men and women should enjoy equal status. And he admits women's economic independence, and playing active role in society. The Fabian Society he heads up also advocates paying household women for housework. Therefore, if women want to achieve true independent economic independence, they will not rely on men. Only by doing so woman can not only gain the right to speak in the family, but also play a greater role in society.