Teacher Guide

Pygmalion Lesson Plan

Introduction to Pygmalion

In his preface to the play, Shaw calls Pygmalion one of the most “didactic” of his works. The didactic quality operates on more than one level, the most obvious being the subject of phonetics. Through the work of Henry Higgins, and the responses effected by his subject, Eliza Doolittle, Shaw educates his audience about the quality of language to place an individual within a sphere of allowable action. In this play, language determines permissible social behavior—individuals are expected to act within the rights of the class represented by their speech. The play is set during a time when British society continued to be turbulent, following the redrawing of lines first initiated by the...

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