(George Bernard Shaw)
Pygmalion is a drama in which Shaw has made sentiments one of the principle themes of discussion. The greek sculptor Pygmalion carved a statue and fell in love with it. Aphrodite [the goddess of love],turns the statue into living woman named Galatea, who then becomes Pygmalion's wife.
The Shawian Pygmalion is Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics,who picks up a flowergirl, Eliza Doolittle, teaches her to speak as educated people do, and then successfully passes her off as a duchess. But she is a human being and cannot be treated as a machine. In the course of all his experiments and exhibitions, the professor only thinks of his own skill success and failure, but never stops to consider how the girl feels. When the experiment is over, he has a profound sense of relief that he has achieved triumph and has won his bet. Even now, the sentiment of the girl is of no account. The girl naturally protests against this dehumanised relationship between her and her teacher. She hurls the professor's slippers at him when he wants them and then leaves his place, a free woman. But evidently, she has begun to feel for the professor and wants also to be felt for.
Now the question is what is the nature of Eliza's feelings for the professor with whom she has lived in close association for so long? In the last act, the girl says she would not marry him even if he had proposed to her. The professor, curiously ineffectual to sexual emotions, does not love any girl because he finds them to be rival to his own mother. He wonders, if Eliza does not want to marry him, then what does she want from him? Old Mrs Higgins, who knows much about women says that it would have been better if he had thanked her and petted her and told her how wonderful she had been. Then perhaps she would not have fought with him. Every girl loves to be loved. Eliza herself says that she loves Freddy and he too loves her. Professor Higgins however, remains as ever, an old bachelor.
The stormy protest of Eliza against Higgins' callousness and the tempestous search of the professor have, according to Shaw, no deep emotional background. They liked each other, looked after each other and grew accustomed to each other. They were ever pleasent to each other but never fell in love. It is because Shaw is very shy of deep emotions that he concludes a real drama with an anti-climax. Ther is no doubt that Eliza was deeply moved when she left the professors place and it is equally certain that the professor was in a feverish excitement when he went out in search for her. Shaw here creates a situation charged with emotion. but due to his own distate for emotion, he stops and tells us that it was only a desire for a little tenderness or a little fun, that was at the root of the whole affair. If it were any other case, in the end, Eliza would have married Higgins.
In his determination to make his romance unromantic, Shaw twisted Pygmalion from what would have been, by the principles of drama, its natural end.