Pygmalion I chose the archetype “The prostitute with a heart of gold”. An archetype is defined as a universal idea that can take many forms, appearing”spontaneously, at any time, at any place, and without any outside influence” (Pygmalions Word Play, Carl Jung, p. 82). When present in the unconscious, an archetype shapes thoughts, feelings, moods, speech, and actions. The prostitute with a heart of gold originated in early Greek mythology as the story of Pygmalion. Next, a more modern version called My Fair Lady was written and performed in the 1950s. Then in the 1980s the movie Pretty Woman came out, which has the same story line as the other two, although it is a lot more modernized and the theme of a prostitute with a heart of gold is much more evident than in of its predecessors.
Although the oldest profession was just as large a factor in society in 1912 when George Bernard Shaws Pygmalion play was released as it is today, it was talked about much less freely and the idea of reforming street girl was not as feasible as it is today. “My Fair Lady” was one of the first versions of a poor street girl metamorphasizing into an elegant, proper lady. Pretty Woman can closely trace its roots back to “My Fair Lady,” because both women reform to a better life that they never dreamed was possible, the most striking difference being that Pretty Woman is a more modernized version and the evidence of prostitution is much more evident. In the story of Pygmalion, he wanted a wife, yet he saw too much corruption in women and always doubted their true motives. He was a very talented sculptor, and one day he began sculpting an ivory maiden statue.
No woman was physically comparable to this statue, not the most perfect naturally created woman. His art was so good that it caught him in his own web of deceit. Eventually Pygmalion fell in love with this counterfeit creation, full well knowing that he would drive himself mad obsessing over an inanimate object while at the same time knowing that nothing good could come from his love. He caressed her, gave her presents and decorated her body with fine clothing and jewels. He even laid her on his royal bed at night to sleep, calling her his wife.
Finally, the festival of Venus came and Pygmalion stood before the altar and timidly said, “Give me, I pray to you for my wife” – he dared not say “my ivory wife”, but said instead – “One like my ivory virgin” (“Metamorphoses by Ovid, p.10). The golden goddess of Venus knew that he meant he wanted his statue to be his wife, so she granted his wish. When Pygmalion returned home he placed his hands upon his statue, and to his surprise she felt warm and alive! Her lips became soft, and her skin molded to his touch. Nine months later a baby girl was born to them. In this Greek myth Pygmalion creates an ideal woman, made out of ivory.
Although he never expected her to become real he still treated her like his wife and took great care of her. Eventually his wish was granted and she was brought to life. The perfect woman, in his eyes, was now his wife. Pygmalion created and formed this woman, showing that if you want something bad enough and love it as much as he loved his statue, you can make it happen. In “My Fair Lady,” written during the era of the 1950s in England, there was a high aristocratic society which demarcates itself from the rest of English society, consisting of the elegantly dressed bourgeois class sharply contrasting the poor peasant class.
Eliza Doolittle, a disheveled cockney flower vender who was lucky enough to catch the eye of a Professor Henry Higgins who gives her an offer she cant refuse. Higgins is a well known phonetic expert who studies “..the science of speech..speech patterns and their corresponding locations..” (Pygamalion, p.19). He brutally criticizes Elizas detestable boo-hooing” and crude pronunciations of words. To the snobby, intolerant Higgins inarticulateness and ignorance concerning proper dialect and language produces a verbal class distinction that functions as an external indicator of what class in society you belong to. He cannot understand why some English men and women do not take the time to learn how to speak proper English.
Higgins makes the offer to Eliza to stay with him for six months and he would teach her how to speak articulately enough to pass in the most exclusive social gathering, the Embassy Ball, without anyone being aware of her Cockney origins, which is no small task. He says that she will become a proper aristocratic lady who speaks proper English. Once Eliza and Professor Higgins begin business, they practice the skills and pronunciations of the proper use of English. Everyday they repeatedly practice Elizas grammar, dialects, and speech patterns with a recording device that enables Eliza to learn from her own mistakes. In just weeks there are dramatic differences in Elizas speech patterns that are apparent by listening to their recording lessons. Not only has her English improved, but her manners and etiquette have improved as well, due to the help of Professor Higgins.
Months later, Eliza has been transformed into one of them, a member of the exclusive bourgeois class in England, able to pass at any social event she chooses, which is no easy accomplishment. Thanks to Professor Higgins, Eliza can mingle with the snobs of the elite class, and no one has any idea where she is originally from. Higgins has not only traversed the phonetic stream, transforming one polar opposite dialect into another, but he has simultaneously developed an affection for his star pupil. Although he denies it to by telling himself that he can live just the same without her, just as he did before, he knows it is just a lie. The six months have passed quickly, and it is time for Eliza to leave. Eliza is a fresh new woman, and is capable of playing off the aristocrati …