Seduced by Bambi

     The 1913 play Pygmalion, written by George Bernard Shaw, was a superb play in which I found myself feeling somewhat sorrowful for the poor flower girl Eliza. Both the play and film were excellent, but I did not really grasp the character Eliza played until I saw the 1938 film, directed by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard. The film really opened my eyes. What do I mean by this? The answer lies directly in Eliza's (Wendy Hiller) eyes.

     From the beginning, many found themselves thinking, that poor flower girl. I too would have to admit that I almost got caught up in the Eliza seduction. However, once I saw the way she kept batting her eyes, I realized this girl was a professional. Let us think about it for a moment. Eliza's job is to sell flowers. In order for her to sell flowers, she really needs to pitch a good line and do whatever it takes in order to interest people enough to buy flowers. The same applies to how she seduced Higgins (Leslie Howard) and Pickering (Scott Sunderland). I must admit Eliza is quite cunning and could probably have made a fortune selling flowers if only she would have applied herself as she did with Higgins and Pickering.

     Some would probably argue that Higgins still treated her unfairly. This might be true, but it is not as though Eliza did not know what she was getting into in the first place. She surely knew that Higgins' treatment of her came with the territory. It was a small trade for what she would be gaining. The ending only supported the seduction theory. Eliza did not want affection; she wanted an opportunity out. Once she saw that she could deceive anyone including the wealthiest, she knew she could do almost anything or possibly even marry a prince. Once again, she seduced everyone; and, if not for the batting of her poor little Bambi eyes, I too would have been caught up in the seduction.

Erin Eagleson

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