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  Grade 10 Reviews
  Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Review by: Ali W.
Minnesota, Grade 10


Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is a play about a lowly flower girl and a phonetic loving man of means. This play is completely in dialect. It displays the differences between the classes in most societies in the early 1900ís.

There are two subjects that need to be understood to read Pygmalion, phonetics and Pygmalion. Phonetics is the study of a personís patterns of speech and pronunciation. A personís place of birth or origin is a leading factor. In the book a common dialect is accepted in the higher classes and a more coarse way of speaking is accepted by the lower classes. While the name Pygmalion comes from Greek mythology. It stems from a story about a king of Cyprus who carved an ivory statue of a maiden and fell in love with it. Aphrodite brought it to life in response to his prayers.

Eliza, one of the main characters in the play, is of the lower class and speaks in the appropriate dialect for her way of life. This can be a bit hard to understand at times. Professor Higgins is a wealthier man who speaks the accept form of the English language, as does his cohort Colonel Pickering. Their dialect is strictly proper and fits their social standing. Pygmalion illustrates the differences created by this in a wonderfully entertaining way.


The dialect in this play makes it a little hard to follow at times, but the story itself is amazing. I would recommend this to an experienced play reader, not a beginner. So take a break from Shakespeare and Thornton Wilder and pick up a copy of Pygmalion.



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