What is the genre of Pygmalion?

Pygmalion is classified as a comedy and a social play.

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Pygmalion is a 1913 five-act play written by famed playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw. Set in Victorian London, it tells the story of a Cockney flower girl named Eliza Doolittle and her journey toward becoming a proper lady. The play is classified as a comedy as well as a social commentary.

On one hand, it resembles a realistic romantic comedy, as it follows the development of the relationship between Higgins and Eliza. However, it's not a typical love story. Shaw even argues that his play can only be called a romance, because the word refers to something improbable. He implies that, despite their closeness, Eliza and Higgins cannot have their happily ever after, and he also implies that Eliza's transformation into a lady in such a short time is also something that might be considered improbable. Thus, many readers and literary critics call Pygmalion an anti-romance play.

On the other hand, the play is also a social commentary. Shaw offers his opinions on the class distinction in Victorian London and argues that such a distinction shouldn't exist, or at the very least is based in falsehood and superficial matters. He highlights the way the wealthy classes treat the working and poor classes, explaining how the rich often feel superior to the poor and consider them uncultured and uneducated. With his exploration of Eliza's journey and Higgins's character, Shaw criticizes this distinction.

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