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. Based on what you read in the Preface, with which of the following statements do you think Shaw would agree?

2. How does Higgins make his money?

3. Why can't Liza read what Higgins writes?

4. Why is Clara annoyed with her mother?

5. Which best describes the first scene?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why doesn't Higgins want Liza to fetch his slippers for him and perform other like tasks?

2. What makes some English people despise others? What can we infer would solve this problem?

3. How are Clara and her mother different?

4. Describe Higgins's laboratory. What does it reveal about his character?

5. How does Freddy's education and upbringing as a gentleman prepare him for life?

6. What does the Flower Girl do at the end of Act 1 that shows she has a sense of pride and dignity about her?

7. What would, in Shaw's opinion, be a prodigious advancement in the English language? Do you agree or disagree? Explain.

8. What happens to Doolittle in Act 5? Explain how Higgins is responsible.

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

10. What does Freddy do at the beginning of Act 1 that shows poor manners?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the idea of "small talk" and social hypocrisy in Pygmalion.

Part 1) In Act 3, Higgins talks about how ridiculous small talk is: "You see, we're all savages, more or less. We're supposed to be civilized and cultured--to know all about poetry and philosophy and art and science, and so on; but how many of us know even the meanings of these names?" Shortly afterward, Liza shocks everyone by speaking of taboo topics and using a curse word in polite conversation. Clara is delighted by this slap in the face of "late Victorian prudery."

Part 2) What specifically does Liza say to shock everyone? Do you think Shaw agrees that her talk is shocking and rude?

Part 3) What might their polite, "civilized and cultured" conversation have been like if Liza had not come?

Part 4) What do you think is Shaw's opinion of polite small talk, and of "late Victorian prudery" that governs what is and is not appropriate in small talk?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay examining the message about classism in the play.

Part 1) What does the play Pygmalion suggest about the relationships between the classes in England at the time of its writting (1916)?

Part 2) Which social classes are represented in the play, and how are they depicted?

Part 3) What makes Neppomuck, the ambassador, and others believe that Liza must be a princess, and what does that say about the artificiality of class distinctions?

Part 4) Who, according to the play, is a real lady, and who is a real gentleman? What makes a person a lady or a gentleman?

Part 5) What do you think Shaw ultimately wants to say about class divisions in society?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay examining the theme of morality in Pygmalion.

Part 1) "I'm a good girl, I am," Liza repeats in Act 2 when Higgins tempts her with chocolates, clothes, and money. Later, in Act 3, she tells Higgins, "I sold flowers. I didnt sell myself. Now youve made a lady of me I'm not fit to sell anything else." What does she mean by these statements? What do the statements reveal about Liza's morals?

Part 2) Explain the irony in Liza's statement in Act 3. What does it say about the relative morality of low-class flower girls and high-class ladies?

Part 3) What does it say about the morality of upper and lower classes in general?

(see the answer keys)

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