Speech Act, Performativity and Gender Trouble in Pygmalion

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD. Candidate of English Language and Literature, Kish International Campus, University of Tehran

2 Professor of English Literature, Department of Foreign Languages & Linguistics, Shiraz University


Clarifications on 'Gender Trouble', 'Performativity', and 'Speech Act' as examined in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, through which sex inequalities experienced the Victorian age are revealed, can help the feminine identity better conceived as the most recent debates dating back to the last decades of the twentieth century. This research pragmatically focuses on Judith Butler's Gender Trouble theory and Eliza in Pygmalion. To Butler, whose theory of 'gender trouble' and 'performativity' is based on Austin and Searle's Speech Act Theory, the ignored and undermined feminine identity can practically revive. Butler, in favour of post-structuralism and under the influence of French feminism, views gender identity and performativity of gender in multiple disciplines such as, phenomenology, psychology, pragmatics and most evidently linguistics. The paper attempts to show the progressive views of George Bernard Shaw in that a woman can be strong and find her own identity; experience change in a short time and manage to adapt to the situation quickly.


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