Pygmalion And Pretty Woman Essay

1232 words - 5 pages

The relationship between the texts you have studied and their respective cultural context is significant because it provides insight into the way values have been maintained and changed. Discuss with reference to the text from the past and it's appropriation.The intended audience of both Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw and Pretty Woman, directed by Garry Marshall was the mass of society at the time of composition. This is seen through the choice of the form of each text, Pygmalion is a play because in the early twentieth centaury this was the popular way of spreading ideas and Pretty Woman is a Hollywood film, a current form of mass media today. Because both texts were aimed at the ...view middle of the document...

This is seen through the differing reactions to Eliza by the Eynsford Hill family when she is a flower girl, compared to when she is a 'duchess' .The position of women in society has changed a great deal over the last centaury and the contemporary post-feminist society is believed to provide and equal playing field for all. Women and men are seen as equals socially as well as by law and in the workforce. This is seen in the portrayal as Vivian as the heroine in the film who, although she is still beautiful, is individual, independent and has a certain instinctive intelligence, she is seen as ideal for these personal qualities.Another view explored in both texts is the complicated system of hierarchal social classes and bridging the gap or breaking the barrier between these classes.Late nineteenth - early twentieth centaury English society had a rigid class system with the idea of upper, middle and lower classes that were based upon birthright. At the time Pygmalion was composed however, the system had begun to change as the growing middle class was beginning to rise up through the social hierarchy due to wealth. This is portrayed in the play when Mr. Doolittle becomes rich and rises the ladder into "middle class morality". Shaw is deeply satirical of these social classes as is seen in how Eliza can easily rise herself to upper class and her statement to Higgins at the end of the play of "I had only to lift my finger to be as good as you" clearly makes his view clear that the social barriers are superficial.Pretty Woman was written in the late 1980's, a decade known as the "greed is good" decade were social class was based solely upon wealth, apart from in the global community were both ethnicity and wealth both play a role. Social hierarchy is more flexible as any one can rise to what is seen as higher society through the gaining of money, not through the class they were born into.Prejudice between the classes is seen when the shop assistants refuse to serve Vivian on Rodeo drive. However as the movie is aimed at the "all day average American" one typically of the middle class, mistreatment of wealth or greed is seen as a bad thing. Seen in the portrayal of Edwards work partner Stukie who because of his attempts to increase the size of his...

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