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Pygmalion: Mythical Creature

Pygmalion is a mythical creature that has captured the imagination of many people throughout history. According to Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had created. He prayed to the goddess Aphrodite, who brought the statue to life and named her Galatea. The story of Pygmalion has inspired countless works of art, literature, and music.

The myth of Pygmalion is a testament to the power of art and the human imagination. Pygmalion’s love for his creation is a reflection of the artist’s love for his or her own work. The story also explores the themes of desire, transformation, and the relationship between the artist and his or her creation. In many ways, Pygmalion represents the ideal of the artist as a creator, a visionary, and a lover.

Origins of the Pygmalion Myth

Greek Mythology

The Pygmalion myth is a well-known story from Greek mythology, which tells the tale of a Cypriot sculptor named Pygmalion. According to the myth, Pygmalion was so disgusted with the women of his time that he decided to create his own perfect woman out of ivory. The statue he created was so beautiful that he fell in love with it and prayed to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to bring it to life. Aphrodite granted his wish, and Pygmalion and his statue, Galatea, lived happily ever after.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses

The Pygmalion myth is also mentioned in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a Latin epic poem from the first century AD. In Ovid’s version of the myth, Pygmalion is a sculptor who falls in love with a statue he has created. He prays to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, to bring the statue to life, and she grants his wish. The statue becomes a real woman, and Pygmalion marries her.

Overall, the Pygmalion myth is a timeless story of love, creation, and transformation that has captivated audiences for centuries. Whether told through the lens of Greek mythology or Roman poetry, the story of Pygmalion and his statue continues to inspire and enchant people around the world.

Pygmalion and Galatea

The Story of Pygmalion

Pygmalion was a Cypriot sculptor who lived in ancient Greece. According to the myth, he was disgusted by the women of his time and decided to create a sculpture of a perfect woman. He spent countless hours carving the ivory statue, giving it the most beautiful features and perfect proportions. The statue was so lifelike that Pygmalion fell in love with it.

Pygmalion prayed to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to bring his statue to life. The goddess was moved by his love and granted his wish. When Pygmalion returned to his workshop, he was amazed to find that his statue had come to life. He named her Galatea and they fell deeply in love.

The Role of Aphrodite

Aphrodite played a crucial role in the story of Pygmalion and Galatea. She was the one who granted Pygmalion’s wish and brought his statue to life. This was because she was impressed by his love and devotion to his art. The goddess of love was also moved by Pygmalion’s desire for a perfect woman, and she saw in him a kindred spirit.

Aphrodite’s role in the story highlights the importance of love and devotion in ancient Greek culture. It also shows how the gods and goddesses played a significant role in the lives of the people of ancient Greece.

Cultural Impact


Pygmalion has had a significant cultural impact on literature. The story of Pygmalion and Galatea has been retold in various forms, including plays, novels, and poems. One of the most famous retellings of the story is the play “Pygmalion” by George Bernard Shaw. The play tells the story of a professor who transforms a working-class girl into a lady through language and manners. The play has been adapted into various films, including the musical “My Fair Lady” and the movie “Pretty Woman.”


The story of Pygmalion has also had a significant impact on art. The myth has been depicted in various paintings and sculptures throughout history. One of the most famous depictions of the myth is the sculpture “Pygmalion and Galatea” by Jean-Léon Gérôme. The sculpture shows Pygmalion embracing his statue, which has come to life.

Modern Interpretations

The story of Pygmalion has also been interpreted in modern times. One of the most popular modern interpretations of the myth is the movie “Her.” The movie tells the story of a man who falls in love with an artificial intelligence operating system. The movie explores the themes of love, desire, and the relationship between humans and technology.

Overall, the story of Pygmalion has had a significant impact on literature, art, and modern interpretations. The myth has inspired artists and writers throughout history and continues to be retold in various forms.

Themes and Analysis

Love and Desire

The myth of Pygmalion is a story of love and desire. Pygmalion’s love for his own creation is a powerful and transformative force that turns his ivory statue into a living, breathing woman. This theme can be seen in many other works of literature, such as Frankenstein and Pinocchio, where characters create life and become attached to their creations. The story of Pygmalion also explores the idea of love at first sight and the transformative power of love.

Creation and Artifice

The myth of Pygmalion is also a story about the power of creation and artifice. Pygmalion is a skilled sculptor who creates a beautiful statue out of ivory. His creation is so lifelike that it becomes real, and he falls in love with it. This theme can be seen in other works of literature, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where the main character creates a monster out of dead body parts. The story of Pygmalion also explores the idea of the relationship between the creator and the created.

Feminism and Gender Roles

The myth of Pygmalion also touches on themes of feminism and gender roles. Pygmalion creates his ideal woman, who is perfect in every way. This can be seen as a commentary on the unrealistic expectations that society places on women, who are expected to be beautiful, obedient, and subservient. The story also explores the idea of women as objects of desire, rather than as individuals with their own agency and autonomy. This theme is particularly relevant in today’s society, where issues of gender equality and representation are at the forefront of public discourse.

Adaptations and Retellings

George Bernard Shaw’s Play

One of the most famous adaptations of the Pygmalion myth is George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion,” which was first performed in 1913. The play tells the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics who transforms a Cockney flower girl named Eliza Doolittle into a refined lady. The play explores themes of class, gender, and identity, and has been adapted into numerous film and stage productions.

Film and Television

The Pygmalion myth has been adapted into several films and television shows. One of the most famous adaptations is the 1964 musical film “My Fair Lady,” which is based on Shaw’s play and stars Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle. The film won several Academy Awards and has become a classic of the musical genre.

Other notable adaptations include the 1938 film “Pygmalion,” which is a direct adaptation of Shaw’s play, and the 1987 film “Mannequin,” which is a modern retelling of the myth set in a department store. The myth has also been referenced in numerous television shows, including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Doctor Who.”

Overall, the Pygmalion myth has proven to be a rich source of inspiration for artists and storytellers throughout the centuries. Its themes of transformation, identity, and love continue to resonate with audiences today.