Pygmalion Themes

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Appearances and Reality

Pygmalion examines this theme primarily through the character of Liza, and the issue of personal identity (as perceived by oneself or by others). Social roles in the Victorian era were viewed as natural and largely fixed: there was perceived to be something inherently, fundamentally unique about a noble versus an unskilled laborer and vice versa. Liza's ability to fool society about her "real" identity raises questions about appearances. The importance of appearance and reality to the theme of Pygmalion is suggested by Liza's famous observation: "You see, really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up (the dressing and the proper way of speaking, and so on), the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she's treated."

Beauty

In Pygmalion, Shaw interrogates beauty as a subjective value. One's perception of beauty in another person is shown...

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This section contains 1,017 words
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Buy the Pygmalion Study Guide
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Pygmalion from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.