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Pygmalion was a legendary Greek sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved. Apparently, in time, Venus took pity on him and granted his wish that the sculpture would come alive. Pygmalion married the ivory sculpture changed to a woman and together they had a son, Phaphos.
In George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, a modern variation of the myth with a subtle hint of feminism, the underclass flower-girl Eliza Doolittle is metaphorically "brought to life" by a phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, who teaches her to refine her accent and conversation. Personally, I never saw the connection until I recently looked closely at the two. The idea of Eliza being brought to life is a little far fetched, to me. I thought she had character and spunk before Henry Higgins did a revamp on her outside layers. But that's just one from the peanut gallery!