Why is the play called Pygmalion?        

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The original Pygmalion was a hater of women, believing them to be too inherently and naturally flawed, so he vowed that he would never marry. He worked on a statue of a woman, however, and he fell in love with her because she seemed so perfect. He became miserable that...

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The original Pygmalion was a hater of women, believing them to be too inherently and naturally flawed, so he vowed that he would never marry. He worked on a statue of a woman, however, and he fell in love with her because she seemed so perfect. He became miserable that he could not have her because she was lifeless. Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, saw this and took pity on him, bringing the statue to life. Pygmalion then named the statue-turned-woman Galatea. Pygmalion was incredibly proud, finding all women to be hopelessly flawed, too flawed to tempt him, and only he could create his perfect woman. Likewise, Henry Higgins is an incredibly arrogant bachelor, playing with Eliza as though she were just an object to him. He then takes responsibility for "creating" her as a lady when, in reality, his input was minimal.

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The title of the play Pygmalion is based on a classical myth about a story of a sculptor, Pygmalion, who crafts a beautiful statue of a woman and names the statue Galatea. He falls in love with the statue which is far more beautiful than any real woman and prays to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to make the statue come alive. Aphrodite grants his wish and Pygmalion marries Galatea and they live happily ever after, serving and honoring Aphrodite. The version of the story on which Shaw bases his play is the one found in Ovid's Metamorphoses

In the play, Higgins thinks of Eliza as if he were Pygmalion and Eliza an inert object he crafts by teaching her how to speak in aristocratic accents. Realistically, though, Eliza is not a lump of marble but an intelligent and strong willed woman who learns as much from Pickering (who treats her as a lady) and her own innate "street smarts" as from Higgins and thus the title is somewhat ironic.

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