Explain why Pygmalion is a Shavian play.

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Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The word "Shavian" was coined specifically to refer to the ideas and writings of George Bernard Shaw. As a play written by George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion obviously falls into this category.

First presented on stage in 1913 in Vienna, it is a comedy about a phonetician named Henry Higgins, who makes a bet that by simply changing the way a cockney woman speaks, he can transform her into duchess material. His protégée is Eliza Doolittle, and upon the successful completion of his experiment, Higgins leaves Eliza in the lurch. She subsequently finds that while she no longer truly belongs to the lower class, she does not fit in with members of the upper class either.

Pygmalion is one of Shaw's best known and loved works, making it a quintessential example of a Shavian work of art.

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Pygmalionis a play written by George Bernard Shaw. It is probably his best-known play. The title comes from a Greek myth about a sculptor who fell in love with a statue of a beautiful woman he himself had made. He prayed to the gods that the statue could become a real woman, and it did. In the play, which was made into a musical comedy titledMy Fair Lady, Henry Higgins, a language professor, teaches a Cockney girl to speak like an upper-class lady, and he then falls in love with her. The word "Shavian" is an adjective often used to describe anything written by or resembling the works or the style of George Bernard Shaw. It is written and pronounced this way because "Shawvian" or "Shawian" might seem awkward. I believe the word should always be capitalized, so I have edited the word in your question.

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