How do you think the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw should have ended?

1 Answer

thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The playwright George Bernard Shaw deliberately left the play Pygmalion open-ended, but thought that the most appropriate ending was Eliza and Freddy getting married and opening an upscale flower shop. This seems a good solution to the issue, as Eliza cannot go back to selling flowers on the street since her education has made her unsuitable for that life. Her new sense of dignity and self-worth would make sponging off Higgins or her father both unacceptable. Pickering is rather obviously a "confirmed bachelor" (a term which at that time was sometimes a polite euphemism for closeted homosexual). Thus we are left with the rather ineffectual but pleasant young Freddy as a suitable partner. Many of Shaw's plays do end up with this pairing of rather weak-willed men with strong female characters. The solution lets Eliza keep her dignity and independence, has the young couple earning a decent living, and wraps up the loose ends of the plot.