Literary analysis of the play "Pygmalion" by G.B. Shaw

Familiarization with the biographical facts of life of B. Shaw. Conducting analysis of the literary work of the writer and assessment of its contribution to the treasury of world literature. Reading's best-known work of the author of "Pygmalion".

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид курсовая работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 24.03.2011
Размер файла 37,1 K

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The irony of this spiritual philosophy is seen in the actual outcome of Mr. Doolittle. At the conclusion of Pygmalion, Doolittle inherits a great amount of money. Although this upsets Doolittle's lifestyle, he still holds to his interesting philosophy. As he asserts to his daughter and Higgins, “Middle class morality claims its victim” (Act V). Doolittle has denounced something most people crave when he resents wealth.

This drama comprises so many of George Bernard Shaw's personal opinions, beliefs, personal background, and humor. It overflows with his sarcasm and bluntness, while appealing to the human quality in us all. Just as Eliza has a rough exterior and a beautiful interior this play contains critical facts coupled with endearing humor. The characters, conflict, theme, and spiritual philosophies presented in Pygmalion have been wrapped admirably into a package that is truthful but acceptable.

In the preface of Pygmalion Shaw already gives some ideas about the necessity of reforming the English education in language. He points out the connection between way of speaking and class membership in those days. Social rise assumed taking over the way of speaking of the higher social class. His aim was a society without different social classes. All these critics on society Shaw weaves in with loads of humor. Shaw always tried to make his work educational and amusing at the same time. He once said, “It is so intensely and deliberately didactic, and its subject is esteemed so dry, that I delight in throwing it at the heads of the wiseacres who repeat the parrot cry that art should never be didactic. It goes to prove my contention, that great art can never be anything else. “This means, in easier words, great art has to be educational.

Pygmalion gave Shaw a platform for many of his concerns. He was passionately interested in the English language and the varieties of ways in which people spoke (and misspoke) it. Shaw longed to simplify and reform English; he once pointed out that the rules of spelling in English are so inconsistent and confusing that the word fish could conceivably be spelled “ghoti” if the speller used the sound of gh in enough, the sound of o in women, and the sound of ti in the suffix -tion. The text of Pygmalion reflects some of his efforts at simplifying English usage - principally his omission of apostrophes in contractions such as Ive and dont. Pygmalion also allowed Shaw to present ideas about other topics that concerned him -- such matters as social equality, male and female roles, and the relationship between what people seem to be and what they really are. Like his other successful plays, Pygmalion wins us over with its charm and then startles us out of our preconceptions with its keen intelligence.


In this work I tried to make a scientific analysis of Bernard Shaw's life, literary activity and his contribution to the treasure of world literature and one of his famous works Pygmalion. Shaw was a prolific writer. He was a playwright, a novelist, a critic and a publicist. He made success in the field of realistic drama. He criticized bourgeois moral, robbery, appropriation of the fruits of other common people's labour, showed injustice of the society.

In Pygmalion Shaw masterfully connected two themes equally exciting for him: the problem of social inequality and the problem of the classical English language. Act by act, word by word we understand that the set of behaviour, that is the form and the speech maintenance, manner of judgment and thoughts, habitual acts and typical reactions of people are adapted for the conditions of their environment. The subjective being and the objective world correspond each other and mutually penetrate into each other.

Pygmalion is one of Shaw's chef-d'oeuvre and reveals the mastership of the playwright. It was written when the author reached the peak of his creative activity. In this work Shaw touched upon social and economic problems of the British people in the beginning of the industrial 20th century. Shaw wants to say in this work that education and proper upbringing of people may lead the world to harmony in spiritual and material lives of human beings. That is why one of the main heroes of the work Higgins, the professor of phonetics, says, “The great secret is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another.”

The list of used literature

1. English and Western Literature. Oxford University Press, 1993

2. Энциклопедия истории всемирной литературы. М., 1972

3. Abduvaliyev M. A. Pages from the History of English and American Literature. Andijan, 1997

4. Lambert T. England in the 20th Century (электронная версия)

5. Кун Н. А. Легенды и мифы Древней Греции. М., 1955

6. Шоу Б. Полное собрание пьес в 6 томах. М.,1980

7. Андреев Л.Г., Карельский А.В., Павлова Н.С. и др. Зарубежная литература ХХ века. М., 1996

8. Ивашева В.В. Английская литература ХХ века. М., 1967

9. Гражданская З.Т. Бернард Шоу: Очерк жизни и творчества. М., 1989

10. Бачкало И.Б. Бернард Шоу. М.,1999

11. Образцова А.Г. Бернард Шоу и европейская театральная культура. М., 1980

12. World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago, 1993

13. Alfred Bates. The Drama: Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization. London, 1996




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