Pygmalion is a 1912 play by George Bernard Shaw, named after a Greek mythological character of the same name.
Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility, the most important element of which, he believes, is impeccable speech. The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and a commentary on women's independence.
In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures that came to life and was a popular subject for Victorian Era English playwrights, including one of Shaw's influences, W.S. Gilbert, who wrote a successful play based on the story in 1871, called Pygmalion and Galatea.
This is the Greek myth that is believed to have inspired the name for Shaw's play. Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved.
[Published on YouTube 2017, Duration 3:41 mins]
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)
VOCABULARY & DEFINITIONS