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Analysis

Literary Devices in Pygmalion

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The looking-glass is only mentioned once, toward the very end of Act 2. It is involved in what seems to be a very minor incident. Eliza, it seems, has never looked at herself in a mirror, and she d...

Setting

Pygmalion takes place in London, England in the early twentieth century. At this point, the city was the capital of the largest empire in the world. That said, we only get a very small glimpse of i...

Genre

Shaw has a lot to say here: heavy stuff about language, society, and the soul. Lucky for us, in this case he likes to show, not tell. (Well, for the most part. He usually liked writing long introdu...

Tone

As we've said more than once, Shaw wants to get us thinking about a lot of important stuff. Luckily, he's not into lecturing. Think of him as a zany, loveable teacher: he wants you to learn somethi...

Writing Style

Though Henry Higgins claims to be a regular John Milton, Shaw doesn't let him get too poetic. He has too many important topics to tackle, and he can't be bothered with heavy symbolism, complicated...

What's Up With the Title?

Shaw wrote Pygmalion in 1912, but he took its name from something way, way older: an Ancient Greek myth. The most famous of its many versions can be found in the Roman poet Ovid's Metamorphoses.In...

What's Up With the Ending?

OK, this one's tough: the play ends with big argument between Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle. We're not talking about a little quarrel here, but a heck of a fight. Eliza's already made Higgins p...

Tough-o-Meter

As another great character of British literature once said, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." Shaw seems to have kept that saying in mind when writing Pygmalion. Sure, it's got a Gr...

Plot Analysis

Eliza Doolittle is a poor girl with a thick accent and no prospects. Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering are gifted linguists. The three have a fateful encounter one night in Covent Garden, during...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Rags to Riches

Eliza Doolittle has been standing on the corner selling flowers for who knows how long. She's uneducated, dirty, and, to top it all off, has an incredibly thick accent. Oh, and she's also extremely...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Henry Higgins bets Colonel Pickering that he can turn Eliza Doolittle, a flower girl, into a duchess in six months. After dealing with her for a short while, they both agree it will be a tough task...

Trivia

The Family Guy episode entitled "One If By Clam, Two If By Sea" features a subplot in which Stewie attempts to teach his new neighbor (a woman suspiciously similar to Eliza Doolittle) to speak prop...

Steaminess Rating

When it comes down to it, Pygmalion's got a lot more violence than romance. Higgins and Eliza come closer to killing each other than loving each other, and pretty much everyone's single. Mrs. Eynsf...

Allusions

The Bible (1.125)William Shakespeare [spelled Shakespear] (1.125, 3.262)John Milton (1.125, 1.129, 5.223)Homer, the Odyssey. (5.67)Piranesi (2.4)William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris,...
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