what is the character of eliza doolittle?

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msgale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Eliza Doolittle is a main character in George Bernard Shaw's famous archetypal play called Pygmalion.  She is a lower-class flower seller on the streets of London, found by two men Professor of Linguistics Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering who create a bet that they could pass her off (with her dirty clothes, rough attitude, and distinctive shrieking Cockney accent) as a duchess. 

She is not well-educated, but she is wise in the way of people.  She is able, with training and new clothes, to win the bet for Higgins but finds that he loses interest in her soon after the bet is won.  Higgins and Pickering are of about equal social standing, but while Higgins hardly pays her any notice other than how she speaks, Pickering always treated her like a lady - even when she was still a flower seller. She learns that the worth of a person is not based solely on their social rank, but more so on their inner qualities. 

Pygmalion was turned into a musical titled My Fair Lady (also a 1964 film), with Audrey Hepburn in the role of Eliza Doolittle, although Julie Andrews' voice is dubbed over the songs.  Eliza's song "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" is iconic for her character, with set-in Cockney words, but with longing for the nice things she cannot have as a flower seller.