Are we looking at a real life version of Pygmalion?

Credit: Luke Whaleoil

My Fair Lady is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she may pass as a lady.

The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, is the phenomenon whereby higher expectations lead to an increase in performance.

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My Fair Lady (1964)

The movie version is about pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins who is so sure of his abilities that he takes it upon himself to transform a Cockney working-class girl into someone who can pass for a cultured member of high society. His subject is the lovely Eliza Doolittle who agrees to speech lessons to improve her job prospects.

If Winston Peters is indeed playing Henry Higgins to Jacinda Ardern’s Eliza Doolittle he certainly has his work cut out for him.


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