The Characterization Intertextuality in Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (论萧伯纳作品《皮革马利翁》人物塑造之互文特征)文献综述
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), considered to be the best-known English dramatist since Shakespeare, wrote over 60 plays during his long career. Shaw claimed himself to be the follower of Ibsen who had a great influence on his thinking, and held the idea that art should serve social purposes by reflecting human life, revealing social contradictions and educating the common people. In his plays, Shaw combined contemporary moral problems with ironic tone and paradoxes, "Shavian" wit. His 'unpleasant plays', ideological attacks on the evils of capitalism and explorations of moral and social problems, were followed with more entertaining but as principled productions. In the 1930s, Shaw visited China and met with Lu Xun, who spoke highly of and regarded him as the literary giant of the modern world because he could tear the mask of the gentlemen.
Shaw#8217;s works are examples of the plays inspired by social criticism. Pygmalion (1914), among his most famous plays, is a socio-economic play based on the Cinderella story, but actually taken from The Story of Pygmalion and the Statue Pygmalion written by Ovid - about a sculptor Pygmalion who fell in love with and married a marble statue of his own creation. But in Shaw#8217;s Pygmalion, Eliza Doolittle, as a counterpart of the statue in the Greek version, insisting on independence instead of marrying Higgins, who has taught her how to pronounce in a dignified way and to behave like a graceful lady. Though borrowing its idea from the Greek myth, the present text has creative features, whose more vivid and creative characters have their independent thoughts and exert a great effect not only on the society where Shaw lived but also on the modern world.
1. Previous studies on Pygmalion
Some scholars analyze Pygmalion in light of the root of George Bernard Shaw#8217;s basic thoughts. Louise Crompton in his Shaw the Dramatist (1969) defended Shaw#8217;s refusal to sentimentalize the relationship between Eliza and Higgins, and he said one of Shaw#8217;s theories was that well-educated people tended to be selfish and unfeeling because they could not gain access to the common emotions or freedom from ordinary affectionateness. The development of the relation between Eliza and Higgins in the last two acts was designed to illustrate this perception. Deng Niangang (2010) thought that Eliza#8217;s willingness of self-improvement was the impetus to develop the story and Shaw#8217;s principle in writing plays was fully reflected in Pygmalion, that was, ”Dramatic composition is responsible for improving the society and making it more righteous” (Deng 69). Li Kai and Shi Yanling (2012) believed that George Bernard Shaw, by depicting Higgins in Pygmalion as an extremely selfish and rude person from the basic idea of Creative Evolution, revealed the disadvantages of the capitalist society in the process of improving human races. In addition, they thought that Eliza gained creativity from her creator, Higgins, and became a really independent woman.
Some other scholars make comparisons between Pygmalion and other works. Liu Tingting (2005) claimed that Eliza was more progressive than Nora in A Doll#8217;s House because the former refused to be obedient or virtuous and finally removed her fear and anxiety about the society. Guo Xinyu (2008) focused on the comparison of Shakespeare#8217;s The Taming of the Shrew and Shaw#8217;s Pygmalion in his thesis, concluding that the fact that although both versions bore similarity in characterization and plots, the endings totally differ, which proved that Shaw deliberately created the contrast against the Shakespeare#8217;s idea to show his support of women#8217;s liberation and strong rejection of the Victorian submissively stereotyped women: ”He ruthlessly rejects the conventional morality on man-woman relationship in both Shakespeare#8217;s time and his own, and ushered in a brand new one” (Guo 50). Zhang Xiaoping (2011) compared My Fair Lady----the film version of Pygmalion with The King#8217;s Speech in aspects of contexts, structure and characterization. She claimed that both film heroines achieved confidence and success through endeavors in ”finding their voice” and concluded that the two had the same theme--- ”acquiring self-confidence and changing one#8217;s life through ups and downs” (Zhang 87), whose analysis might reveal some truth but in a superficial way, that is, what she saw is only a small part of the iceberg, not the overwhelming rest. Therefore, few scholars show their interest in analyzing Shaw#8217;s Pygmalion and Ovid#8217;s The Story of Pygmalion and the Statue from the perspective of Intertextuality, which is the focus of this thesis.
There is no clear or unified definition of Intertextuality. According to Julia Kristeva, ”Any text is constructed of a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of another” (96). For Roland Barthe, ”any text is a tissue of past citations; the intertext is a general field of anonymous formulae shoes origin can scarcely ever be located; of unconscious or automatic quotation, given without quotation marks” (110). Genette#8217;s defines Intertextuality as a relationship of coexistence between two texts or among several texts. Intertextuality, no matter how it is defined, plays a significant role in literature. It can not only create a more impressive and meaningful story, but also deepen the understanding between the author and the target readers.
There are also different classifications of Intertextuality. John Fisk's Horizontal Intertextuality refers to the linear relation between the author and readers through a text and Vertical Intertextuality a text#8217;s relation and absorption of a reply to anther text. But Faireclough has a different classification: Manifest Intertextuality refers to explicitly marked intertextual relations of one text to other texts, and constitutive Intertextuality means that aspect of a text which incorporates complex relations with conventions of diverse genres or discourses. Jenny Laurent#8217;s Weak Intertextuality means that the semantic meaning in the texts can cause association with other texts, such as similar views, simple reminiscence and Strong Intertextuality refer to a text including explicitly identical language and dialogue from other texts.
Therefore, this thesis will focus on Pygmalion#8217;s Intertextuality with Ovid#8217;s version in aspects of inheritance and innovation under the framework of Faireclough#8217;s classification. Inheritance, basically characteristic of Intertextuality, means the similarities of characterization, plot designing, narrative techniques, etc. in two or more different texts. Another prominent feature of Intertextuality---Innovation means a new idea, device, or method，lies in the significant development from its source, and will inspire more remarkable ideas and achievements. Apparently, elements of characterization in Shaw#8217;s play stand for new characters, new stories, and innovative connotations on the basis of the previous text. Both inheritance and innovation are indispensable to each other, and can help understand Shaw#8217;s writing intention and enhance the artistic charm of the present text.