Created and Creator
Eliza Doolittle, the pivotal character of Pygmalion, is a flower-girl who wishes to be turned into a fine lady so she can get a job.
This play, a satire of class and standing, was written in 1912 by a critic named George Bernard Shaw; his opinions on change are prevalent in this story that chronicles the shaping of an entire family's life.
The primary story is about a professor of phonetics who makes a bet he can turn a common flower-girl into a lady simply by altering the way she talks and acts.
Professor Higgins himself is a crusty old cynic with a foul mouth and a brilliant though self-centered mind who cannot resist a challenge.
Throughout the entire situation Eliza and the Professor are juxtaposed at either end of a spectrum of position and ideology neither realizing how very similar they are.
The professor is Pygmalion. He is arrogant, brilliant, and hates all women except his mother. In this story he is the creator god, unchanging and implacable.
Eliza is Galatea, a rough block that has been formed by his talent into a beautiful but lifeless statue. However there is no goddess of love to bring her to life in this version. Instead she brings herself to life by setting herself in middle the greatest paradox that can be contrived in this situation. She has to choose between the man she loves and recognizes as strong and the man that she can live with and take care of and be fawned over by because he realizes that she is strong and he is not. This brings her and her Pygmalion to a place where neither can do anything. Though they both know their feelings for each other and both would like to act on them Eliza sees that she is made in the professor's image and his position is to godlike to her to be profaned. While the professor loves her she can never, as one of his creations, ever be considered an equal even after she finds herself and comes to life.
To conclude; Higgins was Eliza's maker, Eliza was his spiting image.
As a person she was strong but she could never have the same relation to her god as to other people, so she disguised it behind sharp words and sharper actions.
In the end however she always complied and obeyed.
Most importantly through the entire story from the forming of Eliza to her coming to true life, and her marriage to a weaker person, her relationship to Higgins never changes. It is not what changes in this story that is important, it is what doesn't. Eliza was strong as a flower-girl and strong as a lady. Nothing that Higgins did could have given her that or taken it away. A beautiful statue can be carved of marble but the statue will still be marble. Shaw shows us that the most fundamental aspects of ourselves can never change. They can be shaped and perfected but never taken away or bestowed. We are all as unchanging as a god in those qualities. However we are also all Galatea, to be shaped by the people, places, and tools that surround us.