Pygmalion Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Of what does Mrs. Pearce warn Higgins?

2. What is one example Shaw gives of when people might want to change their accents?

3. What surprises Mrs. Pearce?

4. Which character in Pygmalion is based in part on Henry Sweet?

5. Which best describes the first scene?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who are Alexander Melville Bell, Alexander J. Ellis, Tito Pagliardini, and Henry Sweet, and why are they heroes to Shaw?

2. What bet does Pickering make with Higgins? Why does Higgins accept?

3. What does Higgins mean when he says that people are really "savages"?

4. How does Higgins behave during the social visit? Explain. What does this "gentleman's" ungentlemanly behavior suggest about class differences?

5. What does Higgins's housekeeper, Mrs. Pearce, think about the plan? Who seems to have a more sensible view of the situation, Higgins or Mrs. Pearce?

6. Why does Liza become upset when Mrs. Pearce takes her up for a bath? What does this incident show about Liza?

7. Why is Pickering just as important to Liza's transformation as Higgins, if not more so? What is he able to teach her that Higgins could not?

8. Why doesn't Liza end up marrying Higgins?

9. During the social visit with Mrs. Higgins and the Eynsford Hills, what does Liza say that is shocking?

10. Why does the Flower Girl become upset at the note-taker? What is she most likely afraid of?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay in which you examine the negative consequences of having money and social status in Pygmalion. Liza's father, Alfred Doolittle, is poor but does not wish to have money. Why? When he comes into money, why does he blame Higgins for delivering him into the hands of middle-class morality? Does he make a good point? What are some of the drawbacks to having money? What are the restrictions of being in a particular social class?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay examining the theme of manners in Pygmalion.

Part 1) Evaluate Higgins's statement from Act 5, "The secret is not having good manners or bad manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another." What does he mean by this? Do you agree with him?

Part 2) Do you think Shaw agrees with him on the subject of manners? For instance, is there something honest about the rude way Higgins behaves, and something hypocritical about the "polite" manners of other people in the play?

Part 3) Which characters in the play behave the same to everyone, and which characters treat people differently depending on the class they belong to? Explain.

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about feminism in Pygmalion. In the Epilogue to his play, Shaw quotes Nietzsche in saying, "When you go to women, take your whip with you." Does Shaw agree or disagree with this statement? Is he a sexist or a feminist, in your opinion? Explain, using evidence from the play. Consider in your essay his characterization of Liza, Clara, Mrs. Higgins, and Mrs. Pearce.

(see the answer keys)

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