Pygmalion: Higgins' Philosophy



Professor Higgins is seen throughout Pygmalion as a very rude man.
While one may expect a well educated man, such as Higgins, to be a
gentleman, he is far from it. Higgins believes that how you treated
someone is not important, as long as you treat everyone equally.
The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners
or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all
human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are
no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another. -Higgins, Act
V Pygmalion. Higgins presents this theory to Eliza, in hope of justifying
his treatment of her. This theory would be fine IF Higgins ...

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of this theory.
There are two possible translations of Higgins' philosophy. It can
be viewed as treating everyone the same all of the time or treating
everyone equally at a particular time.
It is obvious that Higgins does not treat everyone equally all of
the time, as witnessed by his actions when he is in "one of his states" (as
Mrs. Higgins' parlor maid calls it). The Higgins that we see in Mrs.
Higgins' parlor is not the same Higgins we see at the parties. When in
"the state" Henry Higgins wanders aimlessly around the parlor, irrationally
moving from chair to chair, highly unlike the calm Professor Higgins we see
at the ball. Higgins does not believe that a person should have the same
manner towards everyone all of the time, but that a person should treat
everyone equally at a given time (or in a certain situation). When he is
in "one of those states" his manner is the same towards everyone; he is
equally rude and disrespectful to all. Yet when ...

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Added: 11/11/2007 02:54:41 AM
Category: Arts
Words: 715
Pages: 3

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