Indoctrination of Victorian Class Identity: Arnold and Shaw; Beyond Victorian Class Struggles


  • Younes Poorghorban MA Graduate of English Literature, University of Kurdistan,, Iran


Matthew Arnold, George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion, Hegemony, Organic Intellectual, Language


The representations of Victorian identity take place through active discourses which aim to indoctrinate Victorian people with certain characteristics to form class identity. Victorian social classes are marked differently by various scholars. This study investigates Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion in light of Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy to elucidate how Arnoldian paradigms impose social and cultural behaviours to each Victorian social class by limiting and defining class identity. Arnold’s concept of culture is further investigated in terms of Marxist criticism. In Shaw’s work, Eliza Doolittle represents the Victorian working-class while Higgins represents the Victorian upper-class. While Arnold does not envisage the same sort of education for the working-class Victorians for their inability to learn and become culturally equal to the upper-class Victorians, Shaw represents an opposing view where he endows Eliza Doolittle with energy to excel the upper-class ideals. Moreover, this study examines Shaw and Arnold as social critics to question whether they are Organic Intellectuals who serve the upper-class ideology or represent objective ideas alienated from upper-class ideology. Lastly, this study seeks to elucidate how the indoctrination of class identity takes place via language in the context of Shaw’s Pygmalion.


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How to Cite

Poorghorban, Y. (2021). Indoctrination of Victorian Class Identity: Arnold and Shaw; Beyond Victorian Class Struggles . Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 9(16), 21–33. Retrieved from