What is the plot of Pygmalion?Bernard shaw

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Pygmalion is a wonderful play about Eliza Doolittle.  Eliza is a young educated girl working in the flower district of London, England.  On night she runs into Professor Henry Higgins, a noted professor of phonetics.  Higgins is intrigued by her broken speech and low station in life.  He believes he can tell all he needs to about a person based on his speech

"I can place any man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets."

Higgins suggest to Colonel Pickering that he could in fact have Eliza speaking like a high class London lady in three months.

In the second act, Eliza shows up at Higgins' house to take him up on his offer. Higgins is mean and cruel to the young lady.  He mocks her accent; however, Pickering suggests that the girl has feelings and offers her a seat.  They agree that Eliza will live with Higgins for 6 months and he will tutor her and turn her into lady.

In Act 3, Higgins tries to show off Eliza's transformation with his mother and her group at tea.  Eliza's stuns them in her beautiful dress and polite conversation.  The tea turns when the group begins discussing influenza.  Eliza drops into a long story of her aunt dying of influenza.  The group is put off by this, but it's dismissed when it's suggested that she's just making "small talk".  As she leaves, the group is smitten by her and young Freddy is in love with her.

In Act 4 Higgins and Pickering congratulate themselves on their great work.  They do not consider the work she has put into changing and ignore her completely.  A huge fight erupts between Eliza and Henry as he considers her ungrateful and she wishes he had left her where he found her.  As the act ends, she leaves and he throws her ring in the fire.

In the final act, Eliza has taken refuge at Henry's mother's house.  His mother criticizes Henry and Pickering for treating Eliza like an experiment and not like a lady.  Higgins promises that he never treated her anymore badly than he treated anyone else.  He invites her to move in with him again as his daughter or even to marry Pickering.  She says she's thinking of marrying Freddy's who's been writing her letters.Her father enters claiming that Higgins' money has "ruined me. Destroyed my happiness."  Before he could bum money from friends, but now all of his friends come to him for money.

As the play ends, we're not sure if she will marry Freddy, but the play ends with Higgins laughing at the notion.

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