What is the falling action of Pygmalion?

The falling action in Pygmalion occurs after the climactic argument between Eliza and Higgins in act 5. Higgins, quite sure of himself and Eliza, sends Eliza to do some errands. Eliza responds that he can run his own errands. The play ends without resolution and requires an epilogue.

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The action of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion falls after the argument between Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins in act 5.

This argument centers around Eliza's future. She is attracted to Higgins in a way, but she claims that Higgins takes her for granted, that he is rude, and that he ignores her. Higgins admits (hesitantly and even grudgingly) that he does care for Eliza, but he shows no outward interest in marrying her (or so he implies). He suggests that Eliza marry Colonel Pickering, and to that Eliza replies that she will never marry Higgins himself. This provides us with a strong hint about Eliza's real feelings.

As the argument (and the play along with it) reaches its climax, Eliza declares that Freddy has proclaimed his love for her, and she hints that she is ready to take him up on his offer. This sets Higgins into a rant about Freddy's foolishness. He insists that he's not going to have his “masterpiece [Eliza] thrown away on Freddy.” Eliza then threatens to set herself up in business as a rival English teacher, and Higgins actually admires her spunk.

Now the action begins to fall. Higgins's mother enters, and Eliza goes off with her to attend Alfred's wedding. Higgins gives Eliza some errands to do (like buying him gloves and a tie), and he seems quite confident that she will return to his home to live with him. Eliza merely tells him to do his own errands, but Higgins informs his mother that Eliza will definitely obey. The action has now fallen off completely from the climax, yet the play fails to resolve within its own boundaries. The author adds an epilogue for the resolution.

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