Sunday, June 5, 2011

The life of Mr. Doolittle

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Pygmalion is a Cinderella like play, which adds the proposition of class distinction and social barriers. Theses subjects are introduced through the character of Mr. Doolittle. Mr. Doolittle is a lower class dustman, who has a daughter named Eliza Doolittle. Eliza plays a significant role in this play by mocking the distinction of class. Mr. Dolittle displays his morals and ethics by mocking Victorian philosophy and having impracticable views of the world, he does this comically by adding an extra interest in the play. Through the play these artificial ideas are implicated as real, that lower class people are happy with their financial situation, and satisfied having such a laborious job.

Mr. Doolittle is portrayed as a comical character that only appears when there is an anticlimax. He adds more life to the play by his unrealistic views on the world, that he wouldn't be any happy living in another class besides lower class. Mr. Doolittle adds another amusing affect by opposing the upper class educated philosophy of Mr. Higgins. Henry Higgins takes Eliza in to his home and mocks the distinction of class. Henry does this by passing Eliza off as an upper class woman. Doolittle captures the audiences attention by his speeches and reactions when he enters Henry Higgins home. In the two acts that Doolittle was in he took centre stage. The main focus that Doolittle exaggerates on is the view of society. He allows the audience to believe in his artificial reality, which doesnt actually coincide with the reality of life at this time period when people lower class people were subject to such harsh conditions. Doolittles job, a dustman doesnt correspond to his advanced knowledge and logic for a lower class person who probably hasnt gone to school. Doolittle gives a broad outlook on the way he views life financially to even marriage. For the penniless life he seems to know a substantial amount of knowledge, where even Higgins is amazed considering his point of view on lower class people.

Through dialogue in the play we know that Doolittle has had at least six wives, and his proposition on the logic of getting married is not too. He believes he should please his wife to earn his keep with her, and that marriage would bind them together unhappily. After Doolittle talks of his philosophy it changes later in the play when he does marry his girlfriend. He explains to Eliza she should come watch the marriage to see him be turned off. Instead of Doolittle and his bride growing in love it actually diminishes the love. Doolittle says that his bride never comes to words with anyone now and that respectability has broke all her spirit out of her(1476;act. V). In reality most people wouldnt marry under these conditions.

Mr. Doolittle comes to Higgins house on Wimpole Street to collect on his daughter. Mr. Doolittle explains to Higgins and Pickering that he is one of the undeserving poor by wanting more than the deserving man would (144;actII). Doolittle compares his needs to a deserving person as a widows that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same husband (144;actII). Doolittle also goes on to explain he just wants the money to get drunk with his girlfriend, and that there wont be a penny left by morning. Logically, in asking for money you wouldnt find this very reasonable to compare yourself to. Realistically the better qualities or explanations for wanting the money would be presented. When Doolittle explains to Higgins how he got Elizas stuff from her home he admits that the landlord and son wouldnt trust him. But through his speeches with Higgins and Pickering he always mentions how truthful he is being, which seem to present paradox. After admitting how truthful he is he says that he brought up Eliza and clothed her, that is why he should be able to collect on her. He blinds Pickering and Higgins with the truth because it is revealed in the first act that Eliza has her own place and sells flowers on the street to live. As Doolittle explains his ethics Higgins says, Pickering if we were to take this man in hand for three months, he could choose between a seat in the cabinet and a popular pulpit in Wales, which is non-realistic (144;actII). This play gives the distinction that class doesnt matter and that everyone gets the same opportunities even if they are lower class. Later on in the play this quality of ethics and morals that Doolittle portrays wins him wealth. Doolittle takes over the inheritance from a well-known lecture on the condition that he lectures on ethics up to six times a year. He is given this opportunity because Higgins refers Doolittle to a famous Moral Reform Society as a joke, which in return leaves him a large sum of money. A chance like this is almost unbelievable. Comically we see Doolittle panic to this idea, and adjust by taking desperate measures as marriage. He doesnt give up the money, but helps relatives financially, he chooses to live with wealth and be oppressive. Ideally in the actual world people who run into money seem to be very pleased, for most this is a dream. Another paradox that arises is how Doolittle talks about having a fathers heart, which he doesnt seem to have since he is willing to sell his daughter to make a profit off of her (144;actII). He even admits to Higgins that the child isnt worth anything to him and that he doesnt want to take Eliza home. Pickering and Higgins both comment on the way Doolittle is willing to sell his daughter, Pickering asks, Have you any morals, man?(144;actII). Doolittle responds by saying that he cant afford them because he is so poor (144;actII). The dilemma that Doolittle faces could be solved by easily by him working for the navvy again if he wanted to take care of his daughter.

Doolittles name really describes his character, he really doesnt attempt to be fortunate in anyway. Doolittle was originally a navvy but preferred being a dustman; this obviously shows he isnt using the talents he has to be successful at all. Bernard Shaw brings in characters such as Doolittle in many of his plays, this extra interest that takes over centre stage when the plot is lacking. The actor Lickcheese also has this sort of appearance in Shaws Widowers Houses play. Doolittle shows a great transformation in character between act two and five, not only did his ethics change but even the way he dresses. Doolittles untimely entrances also give humour to the play, and by the way he presents himself.



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