by George Bernard Shaw
Pygmalion Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.
THE FLOWER GIRL. [She is no doubt as clean as she can afford to be; but compared to the ladies she is very dirty. Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired; and she needs the services of a dentist]. (1.29)
More than just language separates Eliza from her fellow women; even here, we see that she would be the better off women's equal (at least as far as appearance is concerned), if only given the money to take care of herself
THE NOTE TAKER. You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days. Well, sir, in three months I could pass that girl off as a duchess at an ambassador's garden party. I could even get her a place as lady's maid or shop assistant, which requires better English. That's the sort of thing I do for commercial millionaires. And on the profits of it I do genuine scientific work in phonetics, and a little as a poet on Miltonic lines. (1.129)
Higgins suggests that being a maid or a shop assistant requires better English than being an aristocrat. Is he joking? Perhaps a little.
DOOLITTLE. What is middle class morality? Just an excuse for never giving me anything. Therefore, I ask you, as two gentlemen, not to play that game on me. I'm playing straight with you. I ain't pretending to be deserving. I'm undeserving; and I mean to go on being undeserving. I like it; and that's the truth. Will you take advantage of a man's nature to do him out of the price of his own daughter what he's brought up and fed and clothed by the sweat of his brow until she's growed big enough to be interesting to you two gentlemen? Is five pounds unreasonable? I put it to you; and I leave it to you. (2.273)
Doolittle thinks of himself as a different species of poor person; his comments make it clear that there is more to society than an upper, middle, and lower class. There are, it seems, many different classes within each group.