My Fair Lady Character Analysis

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A Fairy-Tale Character in My Fair Lady
George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion has many stage and film adaptations. Warner Brothers’ My Fair Lady (1964) is seen as a success in terms of box-office profits and popularity of the work. In this film adaptation, the protagonist Eliza Doolittle’s is portrayed as a Cinderella-like figure: In a short span of time, she rises from a humble family to become a well-mannered lady. Paul Bauschatz states, it “offers a fairy-tale story bound to please most viewers, and it retains its potential for compelling visual display” (17). Nonetheless, this makeover film seems to lessen the conflict of social class and women’s inequality, the major issues presented in Pygmalion, while stressing magnificent scenes and gorgeous costumes to attract audiences. Eliza loses self-esteem and acts more like a doll-like Cinderella.
First of all, there are similarities among Pygmalion and My Fair Lady (1964), and Cinderella: the story line, the change of character and the
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Marcie Ray argues that the music creates an unreal and fancy feeling in the film, but it also adds more elements of entertainments to meet audiences’ sensory demand (24) and “With regard to the musical, songs are the vehicle for the actors’ ideas and feelings to take place in an open way or a revolutionary way to spread on the works” (26). Audiences are brought into the whole story by the songs. At the same time, the songs relieve the intense conflicts between different roles and add some comedy to the story. Marianne Carroll says, “The musical overlooks the complexity of Eliza’s character and of her relationship to Henry. In their musical incarnations, Shaw’s characters lose much of their edginess and humanity. In reality, the tone of Pygmalion is darker and more realistic than that of My Fair Lady, which is a work of fantasy composed in a light and comedic style”
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