Essay on Pygmalion: My Fair Lady

Submitted By tiffthomp
Words: 539
Pages: 3

Compare and contrast

Short essay evaluating lerner and loewes adaptation of the final scene in act 2.
Musical version successfully expresses shaws intentions? Does the scene from my fair lady improve on original scene in an way?
Tell the musical successfully expresses shaws intentions and if it improves on the play. Defend views with details from both the play and musical.

While Shaw’s play is called a romance, it does not, like "My Fair Lady," depict a romantic love story with a happy ending. According to Shaw, the romance of "Pygmalion" is Eliza’s transformation from an impoverished, uneducated girl into an elegant and independent woman. Although, in both works, the two lead characters fall in love, "Pygmalion" demonstrates love's inadequacy and impermanence by concluding with the lovers' parting and showing that they are ultimately incompatible.

In "My Fair Lady," Henry Higgins takes on the role of romantic lead and lover. In "Pygmalion," he is portrayed as a narcissist who cannot truly love and respect others. Additionally, the musical overlooks the complexity of Eliza’s character and of her relationship to Henry. In their musical incarnations, Shaw’s characters lose much of their edginess and humanity. The tone of "Pygmalion" is darker and more realistic than that of "My Fair Lady," which is a work of fantasy composed in a light and comedic style.

The opening of My Fair Lady prior to meeting Mr. Higgins is very true to Pygmalion. People are gathering under the portico of the church, representing all levels of London society. Of course, Higgins is there in all of his belligerent identification of everyone's accents. Colonel Pickering joins the crowd as Eliza attempts to peddle her flowers. In My Fair Lady, Higgins bursts out in a song wondering "Why Can't the English Learn to Speak?" This song adds so much to Higgins character by early on establishing his arrogance toward those that have not learned to speak proper English. Higgins scoffs at Eliza's dialect and brags to the Colonel that he can