Eliza Doolittle – “She is not at all a romantic figure.” So is she introduced in Act I. Everything about Eliza Doolittle seems to defy any conventional notions we might have about the romantic heroine. When she is transformed from a sassy, smart-mouthed kerbstone flower girl with deplorable English, to a (still sassy) regal figure fit to consort with nobility, it has less to do with her innate qualities as a heroine than with the fairy-tale aspect of the transformation myyth itself. In other words, the character of Eliza Doolittle comes across as being much more instrumental than fundamental. The real (re-)making of Eliza Doolittle happens after the ambassador’s party, when she decides to make a statement for her own dignity against Higgins’ insensitive treatment. This is when she becomes, not a duchess, but an independent woman; and this explains why Higgins begins to see Eliza not as a mill around his neck but as a creature worthy of his addmiration.
Colonel Pickering – Colonel Pickering, the author of Spoken Sanskrit, is a match for Higgins (although somewhat less obsessive) in his passion for phonetics. But where Higgins is a boorish, careless bully, Pickering is always considerate and a genuinely gentleman. He sa
Alfred Doolittle – Alfred Doolittle is Eliza’s father, an elderly but vigorous dustman who has had at least six wives and who “seems equally free from fear and conscience.” When he learns that his daughter has entered the home of Henry Higgins, he immediately pursues too see if he can get some money out of the circumstance. His unique brand of rhetoric, an unembarrassed, unhypocritical advocation of drink and pleasure (at other people’s expense), is amusing to Higgins. Through Higgins’ joking recommendation, Doolittle becomes a richly endowed lecturer to a moral reform society, transforming him from lowly dustman to a picture of middle class morality–he becomes miserable. Throughout, Alfred is a scoundrel who is willing to sell his daughter to make a few pounds, but he
Mrs. Higgins – Professor Higgins’ mother, Mrs. Higgins is a stately lady in her sixties who sees the Eliza Doolittle experiment as idiocy, and Higgins and Pickering as senseless children. She is the first and only character to have any qualms about the whole affair. When her worries prove true, it is to her that all the characters turn. Because no woman can match up to his mother, Higgins claims, he has no interest in dallying with them. To observe the mother of Pygmalion (Higgins), who completely understands all of his failings and inadequacies, is a good contrast to the mythic proportions to which Higgins builds himself in his self-estimations as a scientist of phonetics and a creator of duchesses.
Freddy Eynsford Hill – Higgins’ surmise that Freddy is a fool is probably accurate. In the opening scene he is a spineless and resourceless lackey to his mother and sister. Later, he is co