Pygmalion

2 February 2017

The distinctive voices, characteristic in any text/s, can be deconstructed to develop an understanding which may validate, challenge or disprove society’s values and/or beliefs within a given context.

Language, in all its forms, is a human thing, and allows the traces or imprints of human use, not inherently but in its use. A text may promote obvious distinction between the authorial voice and character’s viewpoint. This can be seen in the play of Pygmalion in by George Bernard shaw and the film Pleasantville directed by Gary Ross.Both of these texts show distinctive voices through dialogue the use of dialogue which highlights the relationships and differences between characters. Pygmalion is a play in five acts. It is about a young woman named Eliza Doolittle who sells flowers on the side of the street. She is very poor and badly spoken.

Pygmalion Essay Example

She meets Mr. Higgins who is a phonetician (an expert in the spoken English Language). In act 1 her distinctive voices described as needing to wash her hair, dirty compared to the other ladies and dressed in a shoddy coat and coarse skirt.Her social class is also revealed in her manner of speaking. She uses colloquial language, contracts words into one and has a distinct cockney accent. An example of this can be seen in her first line of the play:”There’s menner f’yer! Te-oo branches o voylets trod into the mad” In this line Eliza created a contraction “f’yer”. She also used the incorrect tense when she said ‘trod”.

Some of her words are expressed using the phonetic alphabet to give the impression of how they would sound. While she does so another member of the lower class draws her attention to a who is making note of everything she says.Eliza became quite distressed because she was afraid that she was going to be accused of prostitution. Her distress is shown through her repetition of I’m a good girl” and her cries like ‘ah-ow-ooh”. Her reaction demonstrates her vulnerability as a young woman from the lower classes. She has very little money but treasures her respectability, a charge of prositution would be damaging to her character and lower any opportunity for future advancement. This is a very significant scene because it introduces many of the key characters and establishes the plot which is based on Eliza’s training to behave like a woman.

More importantly, this scene establishes Eliza’s voice. Her voice is emblematic of her low social class. Her vocabulary is limited. Her pronunciation is dreadful and she speaks with a cockney accent. Her voice at this point defines her identity. Eliza’s voice changes as the story progresses which is used to send a message about society. Eliza is dressed and tutored by Mr.

higgins in order to appear like a lady. After a great deal of work she is mistaken for a foreign princess at a ball due to her excellent pronunciation.However, it is not until Act IV when she stands up to Mr. Higgins that she truly adopts her own distinctive voice. An example of this can be seen when she says “what’s to become of me? What’s to become of me”. This quote use rhetorical question and repetition to demonstrate her distressed state and also to show that she is thinking for herself and questioning the authority of Mr higgins. Shortly after she says “ I said flowers.

I didn’t sell myself. Now you’ve made a lady of me I’m not fit for anything else. I wish you’d left me where you’d found me. In this comment she juxtaposes her life before and after the experiment to compare the two and demonstrate that her options have been limited by participating in the experiment . These quotes display that she has learnt the right way to speak so that her social class has been disguised. This is a very significant scene in the play because it is the moment when Eliza truly finds her voice. Her manner of speaking is forceful and calculated which reveals her intelligence and sense of independence.

She shows that beneath the appearance of a lady she is still the same person.She demands answers and takes control of her situation. This is the moment when she uses her voice to reclaim control over her life. Another distinctive voice in Pymalion is that Henry Higgins . is an important character in the play as he is Eliza’s tutor. He Is an expert in phonetics and is very proud of his skill and his ability to transform Eliza into a lady. However he fails to follow the rules of social conduct when they are out in public.

This is evident in Act III when he was rude to the hostess saying: “fearful bore for you this sort of thing.Forgive my part in it”. However he is most rough with Eliza. His voice is characterised by the severe tone, high volume and use of profanity or insults. He also uses a harsh tone, particularly when talking to Eliza e. g “You won my bet! You! Presumptuous insect! / I won it. ” In this quote he uses exclamations, repetition and italics to show his emotion.

This quote uses exclamations and repetition of you to emphasise his emotion. He also uses the metaphor of Eliza as an insect to communicate his anger but also create the sense that she is small and meaningless.This quote shows his inability to acknowledge that eliza worked hard for the bet. “ Damn Mrs. pearce ; and damn the coffee; and damn you: and wildly damn my own folly in having lavished my hard-earned knowledge and the treasure of my regard and intimacy on a heartless guttersnipe”. At this point Mr. Higgins has truly lost his temper.

This is shown in the repetition of the curse “damn”. He has been hurt by what Eliza has said because he believes that she is ungrateful. Eliza has won the argument by making him lose his temper. He leaves in fury.This is another example of how tone, language choice and language devices can be used to create a individual voices. 22 is a song by Lily allen shows how dialogue can create a distinctive voice. It compares the optimistic plans and attitude of a yound and attractive 22 year old, to her 30 year old self.

It is a song about disappointed dreams as she does not achieve what she hoped to and does not understand where her life went to wrong. The primary voice in the song is the narrator who describes her past and present self. The song begins with the juxtaposition of her young and old self.The young version had a world of opportunity open to her, the old version has past her prime and does not how to she got so lost. The choice of bright and night create an image in the reader’s mind and that she has moved from the light to the dark, from something good into something bad (imagery). Through the third person omniscient narration the reader learns about the thoughts, feelings and aspirations of the woman at different points in her life. The chorus gives us the voice of society which claims that her life is over because she is a woman who has passed a certain age.

It also make use of juxtaposition to contrast her hopes as a 22 year old to the reality as a 30 year old. The chorus is repeated three times, this, this use of repetition is required for the structure of a song and it emphaises the power of the voice of society. Another strong voice in the poem is the voice of society. The voice of society is shown in the chorus. The voice of society says that at 30 she has reached her expiration date, she will not get a career or a husband if she has not already. The voice of society suggests that once she reaches a certain age she has lost her good looks and has no bright opportunities.The voice of society is a strong influence and its significance is emphasised as the chorus is repeated.

The repetition of the chorus draws attention to society’s view and grants it power. The voice is an important tool that can be used to empower people, however it can also disempower people by revealing information about the past. In the song 22 by lily allen shows the voice of a bright, optimistic young woman, the voice of a downtrodden and disillusioned older woman and the overpowering voice of society.This song relates to Pygmalion because both texts deal with a young woman bound by the expectations of society. The voices of the main characters initially disempower them because they mark them as a outsiders who do not belong in Pleasantville. However, bud’s speech at the end of the film uses passion and inspiration to gain support. These distinctive voices reveal how spoken language can authorize characters and define their characteristics.

This is imaginable through a range of language and aural techniques.

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