Changing Gender Roles and the Pygmalion Motif - Shaw's Pygmalion and the Musical My Fair Lady in Their Contexts

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GRIN Verlag, 2009 - 56 pages
Bachelor Thesis from the year 2007 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, University of Bayreuth, language: English, abstract: Pygmalion is one of the most famous comedies of all times. Its mythological background is fascinating as the topic is still up to date. This is why it has influenced many artists to use the story for their works. Besides Ovid's version in his Metamorphoses that very closely sticks to the original of Greek mythology and G. B. Shaw's one that, although he changes the frame and the plot of Pygmalion, he still holds on to the idea of the original story, there is for example Jean-Jacques Rousseau's melodrama Pygmalion (1770), Johann Wolfgang Goethe's poem Pygmalion (1767) and Franz von Suppé's operetta Die Schöne Galathee (1865). The mythological background, though, is not the only reason why the story of Pygmalion has attracted that many artists and is that popular. It is the diversity of its themes and actions. There is for example a love story, a criticism of society, many different characters that are interesting in each way, changes in individual personalities and so on. . . . In a way he also forms a woman after his ideas and taste. This point of shaping a woman is present in both, Ovid's Metamorphoses and G. B. Shaw's Pygmalion. However, the most important difference between them is the woman's behaviour. While in mythology Galatea is only a passive character, in Shaw's Pygmalion Eliza is active from the beginning on and influences the play's stream and action. She takes her destiny into her own hands and one could speak of an emancipated woman. As emancipation was a major topic and drastically developed during the Victorian era, one could argue whether the description of women in literature actually reflects society's attitude towards them in the era in which this literature was written. For this reason I will elaborate the role of women in Victorian society in general and in Pygmalion in spe

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Victorian Society 5
Feminist Realisation in Pygmalion 16
My Fair Lady 28
Conclusion 37
Appendix 43

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