Written by George Bernard Shaw in 1912


Based on Greek Mythology Pygmalion


Eliza Doolitle

Flower girl; commoner; “dirty, shabbily dressed, in need of dentist” has a cockney accent / southern accent subject of a bet between Henry and Pickering quick-witted strong, will stand up for herself based on Eliza Sheffield (?)

Professor Higgins - Henry Higgins

Linguist; studies phonetics and different dialects and ways of speaking Lacks empathy rude inconsiderate Rude, brash, classist, misogynist, parallel between Pygmalion and Henry

wants to “mould” Eliza into refined and sophisticated woman from a ‘rough’ person, makes a bet w Pickering

Colonel Pickering

friend of Henry’s author of Spoken Sanskrit elderly gentleman; military background bet was between him and Higgins was kind and friendly

helps her set up shop moral and financial support; and motivates wealthy


upper class true gentleman good-natured

love interest of Eliza, in love w Eliza
writes to her daily meets her during Eliza’s first trial used to wait every night to catch a glimpse of her courts w Eliza via letters runs away w Eliza

Alfred Doolitle

Eliza’s father Dustman turns his daughter in for five pounds

Mrs Pearce

Higgins’ housekeeper makes sure Eliza is cared for properly while in house


Professor Higgins sees flower girl Eliza; mocks her accent

”If I can’t have kindness, I’ll have independence”

see also

  • Pygmalion Effect / Rosenthal Effect

Joseph Weizenbaum named his chatterbot computer program ELIZA after the character Eliza Doolittle