The play "Pygmalion" describes the process of the transformation of Eliza, who appears in three images in the story: Eliza begins as a flower girl, then she transforms into a lady with noble accent and in good manners, then an independent woman with self-respect and dignity.
By naming his drama "Pygmalion," Shaw reminds people of the ancient Pygmalion Myth. Pygmalion, a sculptor, makes a beautiful statue and falls in love with his own creation. He prays that life may be granted to it. The gods give him his wish. The statue becomes a living girl named Galatea. In Shaw's play, Eliza, the heroine, is transformed from a flower girl into a graceful lady. This change is like that of a stone into a statue of perfect beauty. But just as Pygmalion can only create the statue while never being able to give life to it, Higgins creates a beautiful object out of crude raw materials, but the last great gift of a living soul is more than he has power to give by himself. The god that transforms Eliza into an independent woman lies within Eliza herself. It is Eliza's evocation of her self-consciousness and her sense of self-respect and dignity that transform her completely.
As a flower girl, Eliza is neither cared for nor loved at home or in the neighborhood. Although she has a father, Eliza is no more than an orphan. Doolittle, her father, is a thorough rascal. He cares nothing for his family responsibility. He is addicted to drink and women. He believes in the philosophy that a strap is the best way to improve his daughter's mind. So Eliza is often beaten by her father when he loses his temper. Among her mates, Eliza has no friends and is often laughed at by other girls. The hard life cultivates her a strong character. She learns to support herself and to be independent. Being a flower girl, she is very skillful and smart, so she can have a relatively good income compared with other girls. In spite of the hard life, she's still full of hope and dreams for the future, as revealed by the "decoration" on the wall in her shabby lodging and the daydreams she often has in her little piggery. She intends to be a lady in a flower shop instead of selling at the corner of Tottenham Court Road, but is refused because of her dreadful accent.
The factor that changes her fate is that Eliza knows how to grasp chances when they favor her. Overhearing Higgins boast that the professor can make her a duchess, she immediately seizes the opportunity and makes a visit to Higgins. This is the turning point of her life; that is, the beginning of her transformation. Without the independent character and the ability to make right decisions as well as right choices, Eliza would have remained a poor flower girl all her life.
The transformation of Eliza into a lady includes changes in her dress, pronunciation and manners. When she appears as "a dainty and exquisitely clean young lady in a simple blue cotton kimono", she astonishes everyone with her beauty. This is the first...