Back to: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Eliza Doolittle is the protagonist of the story. She is a hardworking young woman who sells flowers to earn a living after leaving her parents’ house. She is a bit brazen and rude but that is a reflection of her hard life and circumstances.
She is intelligent and quick at adapting and learning new stuff. She takes on herself to improve her manners and accepts Higgins and Pickering’s offer to transform her. She works meticulously and ends up exceeding all expectations.
In the end, she acknowledges her personal growth and wants to lead a better life than before. She marries Freddy and opens up a flower shop to make her dreams come true,
In spite of all her qualities and virtues, she finds it difficult to make independent decisions. She depends on Pickering and Higgins at the start and then married Freddy who confesses his undying love for her.
Even at the end of the play, the readers are not certain if she will ever go back to Higgins (as he himself suggests). Also, the story leaves it ambiguous if she really has been acculturated and groomed to a refined persona or is it mere act.
It is quite possible that she just developed great acting skills to be able to convince people of her fine tastes even with the same crass attitude beneath the appearances.