Pygmalion Summary and Theme

It was the Nobel laureate G. B. Shaw who wrote the well-known play Pygmalion which is in fact a romance in five acts. It was produced in German in 1913 in Vienna. Whereas it was the year 1914 when the play was performed in England.

Pygmalion is regarded as a humane comedy about love as well as the English class system.

Pygmalion Plot Summary

Henry Higgins is a phonetician professor. He is equipped with an almost Sherlockian ability to deduce the hometown/region of any person based on his (means, that person’s) accent. The professor overhears Eliza Doolittle who is a flower girl. He mocks at the common way of her talking. The girl, the next day, shows up as well as asks this professor of phonetics to provide her elocution lessons so that she can learn how to talk properly.

Alfred Doolittle is the father of Miss Doolittle. He not only shows up but also tries to get some money from prof. Higgins: this man, Alfred Doolittle shows himself to be boorish as well as prone to violence. Mr. Doolittle tries to strike his own daughter Elizabeth when she sticks her tongue out at him.

The professor of phonetics, Mr. Higgins realizes the upbringing his protege has had; he acknowledges that he has taken on a very big and important task in trying to transform the Cockney flower seller girl into a duchess or a respectable-sounding lady. 


Anyway, Prof. Henry Higgins accepts the challenge, with his friend, Colonel Pickering betting him that will not be capable of passing Eliza Doolittle off as a lady at the ambassador’s party within or in a time of just 6 months. The aforementioned challenge of Colonel Pickering emboldens him.

Mr. Higgins after a few months tries to test his progress on Miss Doolittle. He takes Eliza to the drawing-room party of his mother. Here, partygoers are impressed by her diction. But Eliza uses vulgar language such as the swear word ” bloody” which is greeted with less enthusiasm.

But, a character, Freddy Eynsford Hill is greatly attracted to Eliza. He pursues her. Miss Doolittle charms every person with her fine diction as well as language. In this way, though Mr. Henry Higgins wins his bet yet he loses his interest in Miss Doolittle (much to her anger or annoyance) afterward.

In fact, the professor even crows that: (a) Eliza’s transformation is not real but just superficial, as well as (b) (it is) possible due to his work on this girl. When Alfred Doolittle (her father) appears and announces his marriage Miss Doolittle (Eliza) at once reverts to her Cockney speech; in this way (in this case also) the professor is triumphant. She accepts Freddy’s attention instead and agrees (s) to marry him.

Ques: In which year G. B. Shaw’s play Pygmalion became famous as a motion picture?

Ans: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw became famous in 1938.

Ques: About what thing was Prof. Henry Higgins confident?

Ans: Professor Higgins was quite confident about this thing that he is capable of training any person to speak perfect English. 

Ques: From where does the play Pygmalion take its name?
Ques: What is the Pygmalion myth? 

Ans: George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion takes its name from Greek mythology. According to it, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures. After this (incident), the sculpture came to life.

Ques: Who is Mrs. Higgins in Pygmalion by G. B. Shaw?

Ans: Mrs. Higgins is Prof. Henry’s mother. She is a stately lady in her 60s (sixties). She not only sees Miss Doolittle’s experiment as idiocy but professor Henry Higgins & Colonel Pickering as senseless children as well. Moreover, Mrs. Higgins is not the first but the only/sole character to have any qualms about the whole affair.

Leave a Comment