George Shaw Bernard Criticism: Pygmalion (1913) - Essay

Emil Roy (essay date spring 1970)

(Drama Criticism)

SOURCE: Roy, Emil. “Pygmalion Revisited.” Ball State University Forum 11, no. 2 (spring 1970): 38-46.

[In the following essay, Roy analyzes the relationship between Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion.]

The structure of Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion1 is perfectly conventional, juxtaposing the personal comedy of Eliza Doolittle's evolution into true independence with the social comedy of her father's sudden rise into middle-class affluence. However, Shaw's denial of a match between Eliza and her mentor Henry Higgins created legendary difficulties which have surrounded the ending for over half a century. The author's inability to create an...

(The entire section is 4282 words.)

Jean Reynolds (essay date 1994)

(Drama Criticism)

SOURCE: Reynolds, Jean. “Deconstructing Henry Higgins, or Eliza as Derridean ‘Text.’” In Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies 14 (1994): 209-17.

[In the following essay, Reynolds deems the power of language to be the main theme in Pygmalion and links the ideas of Shaw and the French linguist Jacques Derrida.]

Language is central to Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion: scarcely a minute of the play is without some reference to words. The plot is built around a phonetics experiment, and two of the main characters are language experts. Act II takes place amid speech paraphernalia—a phonograph and wax cylinders, a laryngoscope, and a life-size diagram of...

(The entire section is 3840 words.)