In Greek mythology, Pygmalion is a sculptor who becomes disenchanted with women due to what he sees as their many faults. He vows never to marry. Ironically, his greatest work is a woman carved out of ivory with whom he becomes obsessed. He falls in love with the sculpture. Unfortunately, regardless of how he dresses and caresses the sculpture, she remains hard and unresponsive. His problem is resolved when Venus, the Goddess of Love, observes him and decides to help him. She brings the statue to life and the couple marry.
Pygmalion is also the name of a play by George Bernard Shaw. In the play, the theme of appearance versus reality is explored as a Phonetics Professor, Henry Higgins takes on the task of passing a Cockney, flower girl, Eliza Doolittle for a duchess.