Pygmalion (play)

Pygmalion is a play by George Bernard Shaw after Ovid's representation of Pygmalion substance, which was premiered on 16 October 1913 at the Burgtheater in Vienna in the translation of Siegfried Trebitsch.


Shaw's comedy tells the story of Professor Henry Higgins, one -handed linguist who bets that he can make a poor flower seller, Eliza Doolittle, into a duchess by teaching her to speak with the accent of the fine London society. In an ambassadorial party he gives it successfully as a duchess. As it is, however, of Higgins treated badly, she leaves him without knowing what they will do afterwards. The piece ends here.

Just as Pygmalion in Ovid loves his lifeless artwork, Higgins also loves his creation, but not the person Eliza itself, but only the linguistic work of art that he has created. Higgins unrequited love Eliza, overlooking their human needs and do not see them as equivalent. ( Pickering: Does it occur to you, Higgins, did the girl has some feelings Higgins: Oh no, I do not think so Not any feelings did we need bother about. . )


The spectacle at that time caused a scandal, as it almost excessively used swear words for the conditions at that time. So Eliza used once then the vulgar word bloody ( " damn " ): Although Eliza can speak with a fine accent, she understands little of what one is talking in high society. When someone asks her if she was going to walk home, she replies, " bloody likely! " ( "Not bloody likely" ).

In the premiere (directed by Hugo Thimig ) Max Paulsen and Lili Marberg played. In the Berlin production at the Lessing Theatre played on November 1, 1913 Tilla Durieux and Albert Steinrück.


The play was made ​​into a film in 1938 starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller in the lead roles. Shaw was awarded in 1939, together with his co-author Cecil Lewis for the screenplay adaptation of an Oscar. The two main characters ( Howard and Hiller ) had been nominated for an Oscar.


1956 originated from the play the musical My Fair Lady and 1964 whose film My Fair Lady.

Current Issues

  • George Bernard Shaw: Pygmalion ( Enriched Classics Series ), Simon & Schuster, 2005, ISBN 978-1-416-50040-7 (English).
  • George Bernard Shaw: Collected pieces in single issues. Volume 10: Pygmalion. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt 1989, ISBN 3-518-38359-0
  • George Bernard Shaw: Pygmalion, Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-518-18928-3