Professor Higgins makes a bet with Colonel Pickering. The bet is, he can transform a common flower girl with a horrible accent, into an elegant lady passing for a Duchess in society. It would show how skilled he is at his work as a phoneticist. Through an amusing storyline, Shaw comments on feminism and class issues.
The first time I read Pygmalion, was for a class. It had been a few years since I read it, so I decided to reread it. I'm glad I did. It is a humorous play full of witty banter. My favorite scenes are with Professor Higgins' mother. Their interaction is quite hilarious. She begs him to stay away when her friends are visiting. She takes all of his antics in stride, and gives her frank opinions to him.
Shaw based the Play off of the Greek myth Pygmalion and Galatea. In this myth, Pygmalion falls in love with Aphrodite. When she won't sleep with him, he makes an ivory statue of her. He keeps it in his bed and prays for her to have pity on him. She enters the statue and brings to life Galatea. In Shaw's play Professor Higgins also becomes obsessed with his creation.
Growing up I would often watch the movie My Fair Lady. It is a musical that follows the play very closely. I enjoyed reading the play this great film came from. I would recommend reading the play. It is easy to read. It is five short acts, and can be read quickly.