"Galatea never does quite like Pygmalion: his relation to her godlike to be altogether agreeable." To what extent are relationships determined by social class in Pygmalion. Please tell me how do i...

"Galatea never does quite like Pygmalion: his relation to her godlike to be altogether agreeable." To what extent are relationships determined by social class in Pygmalion. Please tell me how do i do this question.

Asked on by shalani

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Great questions! This quotation from the prologue to the play refers to the original Greek myth. Pygmalion was a great sculptor who hated women's flaws. He made a sculpture of the perfect woman, then fell in love with it. He prayed to Aphrodite (the goddess of love), and she brought the sculpture to life. (See the website below for a slightly more detailed version of the story.)
Shaw's statement is more cynical. He's saying that if you create something (or someone), you'd never really fall in love. Instead, you'd always feel like you were a god to that person. That's the case with Henry and Eliza in Pygmalion the play, and it's due to their class differences. Look at how Henry treats the members of the lower class in the very first pages of the play; he observes them like they are animals, or raw materials, providing data for his linguistic studies. To fully answer this question, you'd look at things like that, but also at the ways Henry's expectations about what it means to be fully human are shaped by his class background.
Greg

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