Pygmalion And The Power Of Love Emerson And Brit Lit Research Paper

1274 words - 6 pages

Respect and Admiration: A Foundation for Love
Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw, is a portrayal of two people who are unable to develop a deep affection for each other. Shaw uses relationships between a few characters to convince the reader that respect is the foundation for love. The rude interactions between Professor Higgins and Eliza (during their time together) does not evolve into a passionate love story between the two main characters. Though there are cases where “opposites attract” that doesn’t seem to apply to the relationship between the uncultured flower girl and a cantankerous intellectual - who are at the center of Shaw’s story. The author exhibits the platonic relationship that Eliza has with Higgins in order to argue romance cannot flourish without mutual respect. Though such reasoning would seem obvious to most it seems Shaw is keen on forcing the issue that a rewarding love is grounded in a couple’s reciprocal admiration.
In many events during the play Eliza is antagonized by Higgins, which causes her to loathe the professor’s personality. In Act 2, during Eliza’s first visit to Higgins’ residence, she is indirectly called useless by Higgins. He says to Eliza “I’m not going to waste another cylinder on it. Be off with you. I don’t want you.” Here Higgins demonstrates that he is unwilling to make any effort to appear hospitable to Eliza, and instead comes off as impulsive, annoyed, and impertinent; all relatively repulsive qualities. Later in the play (Act5) it is apparent that Eliza is acutely aware that Higgins comes off as unattractive to her. This takes place at Mrs. Higgins’ residence and there Eliza compares the admirable Pickering to the grumpy professor, in order to highlight the qualities she believes makes Higgins ungentlemanlike. Eliza states to Pickering, “I was brought up to be just like him, unable to control myself, and using bad language on the slightest provocation. And I should never have known that ladies and gentlemen didn't behave like that if you hadn't been there.” Eliza’s words signal to Higgins that she views his nature as a bad influence to her character or anyone attempting to be civilized. It would seem logical to conclude that neither is attracted to the other’s personality, and it appears very likely that no romance will blossom between Eliza and Higgins. The salty professor could have changed the way he appeared to Eliza during the six months they spent together however he refused to do so. It could be argued that Higgins is attracted and possibly even infatuated with Eliza, but is unable to convey his feelings to her, because he has had little or no experience with romantic love and/or he is afraid that his desire for Eliza will not be returned. After all Higgins isn’t obligated to help Eliza, and continues to mentor her without expecting to be paid for his services. However, throughout the story Higgins seems more interested in the process and results of his “social experiment” rather than...

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