- Eliza Doolittle
After Professor Henry Higgins throws away the ring and Eliza thinks he will beat her, she dramatically bends over the fireplace and soils her hands with ashes. And there she is, the outstanding lady who had just drawn the attention and admiration from everyone at the Embassy Ball breaking down the faux, revealing her origins: Eliza Doolittle was not a lady, she was a flower girl.
In British/European societies the differences between classes are very well defined and rarely changed; no matter if you worked your whole life to become a well succeeded nouveau riche you will always be inferior to the aristocratic minds of the high society [even the Escaladers tend to adhere to that mentality].
My point in all this cinematical/sociological blabbering is our roles as inhabitant of this global web. Here we have Audrey Hepburn giving life to one of the most charismatic and deep characters ever created. [I don't care if she was dubbed on the musical numbers or if she never performed it on the stage; it's Audrey Hepburn everyone thinks about whenever they hear the words My Fair Lady/Eliza Doolitttle.] When she was the flower-gal she simply survived, living through the days just to keep herself alive; after being educated by Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering she is a woman aware of her role on society. Is she?
When Eliza soils her hands, still dressed on her "princess costume" she realizes she doesn't know who she is, so she flees to find out who is the real persona inside her, she goes out to find herself; when she returns to her original place no one can recognize her, after all what such a lady as herself could be doing among a group of beggars? We let the outside-world define who we are and what we ought to do; all Eliza knew was that she was a "good gal" who sold flowers on the streets; that was her duty, that was her role on the play. But when she's offered a new position and she learns how to behave in that place she can't decide if she's worthy of all that, because everyone always told her she wasn't.
My Fair Lady's plot happens in the 1920's and back then human relations were still stiff and rigid like that. In another movie that portrays that same era, Robert Altman's Gosford Park, in a particular scene all the servents declare they have come from a long lineage of servants, their parents were, their grandparents were as well and so will be their kids; just today my father was telling that back in the 60's the prostitutes weren't allowed to frequent downtown because they would be tarnishing the town's morality. But nowadays, things are different, right? Society has evolved and permitted people to define themselves for themselves.
I wouldn't say so. We are still told what to do, what to be, how to behave, who to worship and follow, what to say, what to believe and the beat goes on. In Kabbalah we are taugh that we are the responsibles for every little thing [good or bad] that happens in our lives; so why do we still let ourselves be governed?
When Eliza Doolittle said that the difference between a lady and a flower girl was the way she is treated, she wasn't placing the blame on everyone else for her grace or disgrace. At that moment she was realizing that people would always judge her and always draw itineraries for her life; but it's only when you look inside yourself and assume who you are and take control of your own life is when you will be treated like a lady. At the moment she knew she was a lady because she wanted and chose to be so.
So once again I go about this: it's all about choices...
[Song: Wouldn't It Be Lover-ly? - Audrey Hepburn]