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Consider the relationships between culture and social identity in Pygmalion and Educating Rita - Essay Example

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Consider the relationships between culture and social identity in Pygmalion and Educating Rita

The ‘Pygmalion myth’ was a favourite subject for the Victorian play wrights where Shaw was not an exception. Will Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’ is, to a certain extent, thematically similar to Shaw’s play ‘Pygmalion.’ The central figure of this play is Susan, who calls herself as Rita, hairdresser from Liverpool who has decided to get an education, not to seek for s new job but to explore an entirely new world which she has never experienced before. She selects an Open University English Literature course and joins the world of Professor Frank, an alcoholic. Though she was determined and completed her studies, she could not either receive or reject her new state. A comparison of both the plays unveils that both the dramatists have effectively used culture and social identity as a means to makes the readers aware of the ill-effects of class distinctions and certain other factors. The play [Educating Rita] is a searing assault on our rigid class distinctions, and culture of ignorance and misunderstanding, aggravated by inequalities in wealth and education (Educating Rita, 2010). “In retrospect, Educating Rita is a personal success story and one of hope, at least at the time it was written” (Aguilar, C. M J p.29). One can see a similar theme in ‘Pygmalion’ where Eliza is in search of her personal identity and it advocates the decisive role of culture in moulding one’s identity. The proposed study is conducted on the grounds that culture has a predominant role in forming one’s social identity or social milieu.
Culture and social identity have a reciprocal relation akin to the relation between individuality and social identity. It is common knowledge that the seeds of one’s individuality lay in one’s culture, that is, the social set up figures out a person’s individuality. This is crystal clear when observing the first ...Show more


Modern Irish dramatist Bernard Shaw’s play ‘Pygmalion’ and the modern British dramatist Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’ are much discussed and compared literary pieces due to their similarity in the presentation of the themes. Both the plays can be regarded as the…
Author : pollicheusebio
Consider the relationships between culture and social identity in Pygmalion and Educating Rita essay example
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