The Morality of a Scoundrel: Understanding Mr. Doolittle's Importance 10th Grade

At first glance and introduction, it seems Mr. Doolittle is no more than a slovenly and crude navvyman. He serves the plot as nothing more than a physical representation of where Eliza comes from. However, in the two scenes he is in, he steals the show. His listless and content nature belies a man with a sharp mind, sharp ideals, and an even sharper tongue. Alfred Doolittle is a man who knows what makes him happy, and does not like the responsibility that he would gain if he improved his quality of life.

One of the most important parts of Mr. Doolittle’s character is his words. His natural gift of rhetoric reveals the brilliant mind underneath his calloused exterior. It is the audience’s first clear look at the true depth of Mr. Doolittle's character. One of the things Doolittle talks most about in his first appearance is his own contentment. One instance arises in lines 255-259 of Act II, where he says, “Undeserving poverty is my line. Taking one station in society with another, it's—it's—well, it's the only one that has any ginger in it, to my taste.” Before and after his “transformation,” he talks about being satisfied with his current position. All he desires is some simple, earthly pleasures on occasion. He speaks about...

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