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Pygmalion

Pygmalion

In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a king of the island of Cyprus and a sculptor. He spent many years carving an ivory statue of a woman more beautiful than any living female.

Pygmalion became fascinated by his sculpture and fell in love with it. He pretended it was an actual woman. He brought it presents and treated it as if it were alive. However, the statue could not respond to his attentions, and Pygmalion became miserable. Finally, he prayed to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to bring him a woman like his statue. Aphrodite did even better. She brought the statue to life. Pygmalion married this woman, often called Galatea, who gave birth to a daughter (some versions of the story say the child was a boy).

The writer George Bernard Shaw took the name Pygmalion as the title of his play about an English professor who turns a poor girl from the streets into a fashionable society woman. Shaw's story was the basis of the later Broadway musical and movie My Fair Lady.

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Pygmalion

Pygmalion in Greek mythology, a king of Cyprus who fashioned an ivory statue of a beautiful woman and loved it so deeply that in answer to his prayer Aphrodite gave it life. The woman (later named Galatea) bore him a daughter, Paphos.

Pygmalion was used as the name of a play (1916; the musical My Fair Lady was based on it) by George Bernard Shaw, in which the phonetician Henry Higgins teaches the Cockney flower-seller Eliza Doolittle to pass herself off as a society woman. Before her transformation is fully achieved, Eliza utters the words ‘not bloody likely’, which caused a public sensation at the time of the first London production; as a result, Pygmalion became a humorous euphemism for ‘bloody’.

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Pygmalion

Pygmalion (pĬgmāl´yən). 1 In Greek mythology, king of Cyprus. He fell in love with a beautiful statue of a woman. When he prayed to Aphrodite for a wife like it, the goddess brought the statue to life and Pygmalion married her. In one version of the legend, the statue becomes Aphrodite; another states that Pygmalion sculpted the statue himself and that after coming to life it was called Galatea. 2 In Vergil's Aeneid, king of Tyre. He was the brother of Dido and killed her husband, Sychaeus, to get his riches.

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Pygmalion

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