The Insecurity of Mister Higgins: A Close Reading of a Multi-Sided Character College

In the play Pygmalion, we get to know Mister Higgins as a man who knows what he wants, he is not afraid to say what he thinks and he acts like nobody can tell him what to do. But even though he looks a bit arrogant, self-assured and bossy, he is actually quite insecure. When the situation gets tough; he makes jokes so that people leave him alone and when he lets certain people overrule him, he does not admit it; he tries to overrule people with actions so he avoids directly answering them and he knows how to play people so they will do what he wants them to do. So I will elaborate on the ways Mister Higgins tries to avoid showing his insecurity throughout the play.

When the girl Eliza accepts to become Higgins’s trainee, the housekeeper Mrs. Pearce, takes her upstairs for a bath and some new clothes. Mrs. Pearce reappears before Eliza does, to speak to Mister Higgins about the high amount of swearwords he uses in his speech and if he wants to be careful not to use gutter language in front of Eliza. Mister Higgins replies: ‘I swear! I never swear. I detest the habit. What the devil do you mean?’ Then Mrs. Pearce replies: ‘That’s why I mean, sir. You swear a great deal too much. I don’t mind your damming and blasting, and what...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1156 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8944 literature essays, 2367 sample college application essays, 392 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in