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Extravagant Gifts

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

In the time-honored tradition of showing someone you love them by buying them expensive things, Pygmalion gives his lifeless statue lots of exotic presents: clothes, pearls, shells, earrings, rings, pretty stones, singing birds, flowers, and even talking parrots.

The Greeks placed a high value on beauty, so in Pygmalion's mind, the most beautiful woman deserves the most exotic, expensive presents. Ovid calls these "the pow'rful bribes of love," suggesting that Pygmalion was trying to purchase his statue's affections. (Don't think too hard about the logic of giving an unconscious piece of ivory a parrot in order to get it to love you… love makes people do crazy things.)

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