Eliza’s Cinderella Story

         The story of Eliza Doolittle closely resembles the classic story of Cinderella. When one takes a closer look, one can see that many of the same elements appear in both stories. The biggest similarity being between the characters Eliza and Cinderella can be seen in George Cukor’s 1964 version of My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 Pygmalion.

         Everyone knows the story of Cinderella, but let us do a quick recap. She is an orphan girl forced to live with her evil stepmother and stepsisters, who treat her like their own personal slave. Cinderella goes on with her life, taking this abuse until her fairy god mother comes and saves her, allowing her to go to the ball and meet her prince charming, with whom she then goes off and lives with happily ever after. In a nutshell, that is the story.

         Now let us take a look at Eliza Doolittle’s life. Eliza (Audrey Hepburn) is a poor street beggar who sells stolen flowers to anyone passing by. Her father, Alfred Doolittle (Stanley Holloway) is a man who could be seen as dead. He only shows up when he realizes Eliza can make him rich, and once he is, he disappears again

.          Then her life turns around. She becomes this beautiful articulate woman who fits into the most posh social class. Eliza is graced with a home, friends, clothes, food, and water. And like the heroine in a true Cinderella story, Eliza attends a ball where she is the most elegant woman there, becoming the talk of the ball. Eliza is even asked to dance with the prince; and the scene could have been pulled right of the Cinderella movie, with everyone wondering who this mystery woman is dancing with the prince.

         Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison), I believe, portrayed a perfect evil stepmother. Sure he had good intentions; but when the viewers step back and look at him, they can see that he was pure evil. He was bent on making her stay up all night just to perfect a simple saying, denying her food until she said her vowels properly and treating her like some prize at special events. When all is said and done, Professor Higgins does not even give Eliza credit for all her hard work to become what she has; instead he brags of his brilliant work right in front of her. The two even get into a fight where he says to her, “I paid five pounds for you!” and at another instance he refers to Eliza as, “…the thing I created.” If those are not examples of an “evil stepmother,” then I do not know what is.

         Going from rages to riches, evil stepmothers, going to balls, all of these things display the ways in which Eliza and Cinderella resemble each other. So now you can see for yourself that Eliza Doolittle got her own Cinderella story, and who knows, maybe you can have one too.

Ashley Stensland

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