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Act 5 Notes from Pygmalion

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Pygmalion Act 5

The next morning, Mrs. Higgins is visited by her agitated son and Colonel Pickering. They have reported Eliza to the police as missing. Mrs. Higgins is vexed and tells them that Eliza has a right to leave them. The parlour maid announces the arrival of Mr. Doolittle. Mr. Doolittle enters, dressed expensively as if he was a bridegroom. He accosts Higgins, blaming him for ruining his happiness. Irritated, Higgins proclaims him either drunk or mad. Doolittle asks if he did not tell a philanthropist in America, Exra D. Wannafeller, that "the most original moralist at present in England, to the best of [his] knowledge, was Alfred Doolittle, a common dustman?" Act 5, pg. 115

Higgins admits that he did make such a joke. Doolittle says Wannafeller has died and bequested him 3,000 pounds a year on the condition that he will lecture for the Wannafeller Moral Reform World League up to six times a year. Higgins and Pickering are pleasantly surprised, but Doolittle goes on to explain that the carefree life he used to have as on e of the undeserving poor has been ruined by this event. He used to ask responsible people for money, but now he is the one who is being asked for money by all his acquaintances. He does not want the responsibility of having money. Mrs. Higgins suggests that he renounce the gift, but he says he has not got the nerve to give up what will save him from having to go to the workhouse in his old age. Doolittle congratulates him on his good sense, and Mrs. Higgins is glad to hear that Eliza will have someone to provide for her. Higgins bristles at this idea. He says to Doolittle, "you took the money for the girl; and you have no right to take her as well." Act 5, pg. 117

Doolittle has no intention of supporting Eliza if he does not have to. Mrs. Higgins reassures Higgins, telling him that Eliza is in fact just upstairs. Higgins is put out that she has kept this information from him till now. She explains that Eliza has been insulted by their lack of recognition for her efforts of the last evening. Higgins is indignant, but agrees to be civil when Eliza comes down. Mrs. Higgins asks Doolittle to go out on the balcony until Liza and Higgins have solved their problems.

Topic Tracking: Morals 8

Topic Tracking: Morals 9

Eliza comes in, perfectly composed, greets Higgins and sits down besides Pickering. Higgins warns her not to try using the tricks he taught her on him. She ignores him and tells Pickering she shall be unhappy if he forgets her because she learnt all of her manners from him, and would have never succeeded in becoming a lady if she only had Higgins as an example. Higgins says she will go back to her old ways soon enough. As if on key, she utters one of her old undignified yelps because her newly distinguished father walks into the room.

Higgins jumps on her mistake with self-righteous satisfaction. Eliza asks if Doolittle has touched a millionaire this time, and he affirms this. He says he is getting married to his girlfriend, and Eliza expresses disapproval. However, she agrees to go to the wedding. Pickering and Mrs. Higgins decide to accompany her. Pickering and Doolittle leave together and while Mrs. Higgins goes to get ready, Higgins corners Eliza for a private conversation. He tells her his manners are the same as Pickering's; that he treats a duchess the same as he treats a flower girl and that is the important thing. Eliza says she does not care how he treats her as long as he does not ignore her.

He would like her to stay with him, but he will not guarantee a consistent interest in her. She says she will not care for someone who does not care for her. Higgins is contemptuous of her commercial perspective on affection, but contradicts her anyway saying that she has gained much more from their relationship than he has gained. He says the only reason he wants her to come back and that she should want to come back is to have fun. He says they are both free to change their minds at any time. Eliza is still frightened by that uncertain future. Higgins suggests that he could adopt her or she could marry Pickering, but then decides Pickering probably would not be interested. Eliza says she would never marry Higgins who is closer to her age. She says she has plenty of suitors, including Freddy. Higgins is disagreeably surprised by this information. He tells her Freddy is a fool and could not make anything of her. She is not interested in whether Freddy can make anything of her or not; she says she wants a natural affectionate relationship. Higgins says she is a fool. "You find me cold, unfeeling, selfish, don't you? Very well: be off with you to the sort of people you like. Marry some sentimental hog or other with lots of money, and a thick pair of lips to kiss you with and a thick pair of boots to kick you with." Act 5, pg. 130

Eliza says he is cruel for treating her this way when he knows she has few other choices than to stay with him. She tells him she is going to marry Freddy as soon as she can support him. She plans to teach phonetics using the techniques Higgins taught her with. She says she may try to work for Higgins's Hungarian rival. This enrages Higgins, but also causes him to gain respect for her. Mrs. Higgins enters the room and Eliza says goodbye to Higgins. He tells her to do some errands for him and she corrects him on various details of his order before wondering aloud how he will get along without her. They women leave and Higgins laughs aloud at the thought of Eliza marrying Freddy as the play ends.

Topic Tracking: Feminine Power 7
Topic Tracking: Feminine Power 8
Topic Tracking: Language 9
Topic Tracking: Manners 8
Topic Tracking: Morals 10

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