Myths And Fables In Pygmalion And Sexing Term Paper


Myths and Fables in "Pygmalion" and "Sexing the Cherry" This paper discusses the use of myths and fables in the two books, 'Pygmalion' and 'Sexing the cherry' written by George Bernard Shaw and Jeanette Winterson respectively. While Shaw's play is inspired by the Greek myth of a talented sculptor Pygmalion, Winterson has used the famous fable of twelve dancing princesses as just one part of her novel and hasn't based her story entirely on it. The two have however twisted the stories to suit the modern social and cultural norms.


The two books namely 'Pygmalion' and 'Sexing the Cherry' are widely known for their use of myths and fables in the plot structure and story development. While Pygmalion is entirely based on a Greek mythological figure by the same name, 'Sexing the Cherry' only takes extracts from famous fairy tales, myths and fables and interweaves them into the basic storyline. The books have however not used the old stories in their original form but have twisted them to fit modern contemporary literary culture. While we discuss the myths that have been used by the two authors, it is important to understand that the style of two authors and their employment of myths in their stories differ starkly. While George Bernard Shaw who was relatively classical in his approach gave a more modern and sound touch to mythology and has based his entire play on the Greek myth of Pygmalion, Jeanette Winterson's style is not very easy to grasp because she moves from one time period to another every now and then and gives a surreal touch to the fables making them appear just that -- myths and fables. Therefore though both have twisted the tales to serve the true purpose of their writings, it is the Bernard Shaw's technique that one can more easily relate too.


In his attempt to create a perfect woman, he creates a statue and works hard to turn it into the most wonderful specimen of beauty ever produced by anyone. But unfortunately in the process he falls in love with the figure but the trouble is that his love is naturally one-sided, as the sculpture cannot respond. But when Pygmalion begs Aphrodite for a wife as perfect as his creation, the former decides to blow life into the figure. Pygmalion then marries Galatea, a name he had earlier given to his statue and like in any other traditional love story this couple too lives happily ever after.
Shaw twisted the story somewhat and introduced new meaning into the word statue and creation and also gave more sense and wisdom to the perfect epitome of beauty and grace known as Eliza in his play. In the beginning of the play Eliza happens to be an ordinary flower girl who is transformed by Mr. Higgins into a perfect model of sophistication and grace. It is interesting to notes that just like the statue did not have a name until it was complete, similarly Eliza was called the Flower girl in the first part of the play. It was only when the task of transformation was undertaken that the flower girl's name was revealed. This way we can differentiate between the girl Eliza used to be and the girl she had turned out to be after the transformation process.

Mr. Higgins is created in the image of Pygmalion and he too eventually loves in love with the creature but the story was given a new touch and life when in the end Eliza refuses to marry Mr. Higgins. This is where the writer has tried to convey to the society that it could no…

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