Literary Quotations
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PYGMALION

by: George Bernard Shaw


It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.

--Preface

The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it.

--Preface

If the play makes the public aware that there are such people as phoneticians, and that they are among its most important people in England at present, it will serve its turn.

--Preface

Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech: that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and The Bible; and don't sit there crooning like a bilious pigeon.

--Higgins, Act I

Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby!

--Higgins, Act I

I find that the moment I let a woman make friends with me, she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious, and a damned nuisance. I find that the moment I let myself make friends with a woman, I become selfish and tyrannical.

--Higgins, Act II

Women upset everything. When you let them into your life, you find that the woman is driving at one thing and you're driving at another.

--Higgins, Act II

The woman wants to live her own life; and the man wants to live his; and each tries to drag the other on to the wrong track. One wants to go north and the other south; and the result is that both have to go east.

--Higgins, Act II

What is life but a series of inspired follies?

--Higgins, Act II

I don't want to talk grammar, I want to talk like a lady.

--Liza, Act II

Time enough to think of the future when you haven't any future to think of.

--Higgins, Act II

You have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. It's filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from soul.

--Higgins, Act III

Can you shew me any English woman who speaks English as it should be spoken? Only foreigners who have been taught to speak it speak it well.

--Nepommuck, Act III

There's always something professional about doing a thing superlatively well.

--Pickering, Act IV

I have to live for others and not for myself; that's middle-class morality.

--Doolittle, Act V

Oh! If I only could go back to my flower-basket! I should be independent of both you and father and all the world! Why did you take my independence from me? Why did I give it up? I'm a slave now, for all my fine clothes.

--Liza, Act V

Independence? That's middle-class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.

--Higgins, Act V

Your calling me Miss Doolittle that day when I first came to Wimpole Street. That was the beginning of self-respect for me.

--Liza, Act V

The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she's treated.

--Liza, Act V

Every girl has a right to be loved.

--Liza, Act V

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