Pygmalion

Colonel Pickering Character Analysis

A gentleman, a colonel and an academic, who studies Indian dialects. While he shares Higgins' interest in linguistics, he is not as extreme in his devotion to his intellectual pursuits. While he gives Higgins the idea for the bet involving Eliza, he treats Eliza kindly and considers her feelings. (It is his calling her Miss Doolittle, we learn in Act Five, that actually encourages Eliza to really change.) At the end of the play, he apologizes to Eliza for treating her like the subject of an experiment, unlike the selfish Higgins who never apologizes.

Colonel Pickering Quotes in Pygmalion

The Pygmalion quotes below are all either spoken by Colonel Pickering or refer to Colonel Pickering. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Language and Speech Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Pygmalion published in 2000.
Act 2 Quotes

You know, Pickering, if you consider a shilling, not as a simple shilling, but as a percentage of this girl's income, it works out as fully equivalent to sixty or seventy guineas from a millionaire.

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle, Colonel Pickering
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Act 3 Quotes

You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll.

Related Characters: Mrs. Higgins (speaker), Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 4 Quotes

Well, I feel a bit tired. It's been a long day. The garden party, a dinner party, and the opera! Rather too much of a good thing. But you've won your bet, Higgins. Eliza did the trick, and something to spare, eh?
Thank God it's over!

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Colonel Pickering (speaker), Eliza Doolittle
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

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I was quite frightened once or twice because Eliza was doing it so well. You see, lots of the real people can't do it at all: they're such fools that they think style comes by nature to people in their position; and so they never learn.

Related Characters: Colonel Pickering (speaker), Eliza Doolittle
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Do my clothes belong to me or to Colonel Pickering?

Related Characters: Eliza Doolittle (speaker), Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5 Quotes

She had become attached to you both. She worked very hard for you, Henry! I don't think you quite realize what anything in the nature of brain work means to a girl like that. Well, it seems that when the great day of trial came, and she did this wonderful thing for you without making a single mistake, you two sat there and never said a word to her, but talked together of how glad you were that it was all over and how you had been bored with the whole thing. And then you were surprised because she threw your slippers at you!

Related Characters: Mrs. Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

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But do you know what began my real education?
What?
Your calling me Miss Doolittle that day when I first came to Wimpole Street. That was the beginning of self-respect for me.

Related Characters: Eliza Doolittle (speaker), Colonel Pickering (speaker)
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

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Colonel Pickering Character Timeline in Pygmalion

The timeline below shows where the character Colonel Pickering appears in Pygmalion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Language and Speech Theme Icon
Appearance and Identity Theme Icon
Social Class and Manners Theme Icon
...random person she doesn't know. Clara is exasperated at the waste of money. An elderly gentleman comes under the portico for shelter. (full context)
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The flower-girl asks the gentleman to buy a flower, but he says he doesn't have any change. He rummages in... (full context)
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The gentleman asks the note-taker how he knows where everyone is from, and he answers that he... (full context)
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The note-taking man then says to the gentleman that the flower-girl's accent and dialect will keep her in the lower class, but that... (full context)
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Femininity and Gender Roles Theme Icon
The gentleman says that he himself is "a student of Indian dialects." He introduces himself as Colonel... (full context)
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Higgins and Pickering leave to get dinner together. Higgins reluctantly gives the flower-girl some money. Freddy finally returns... (full context)
Act 2
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The next morning, Higgins and Pickering are at Higgins' "laboratory," a huge room filled with various tools and devices for Higgins'... (full context)
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...see Higgins. She says it is a common girl with a "dreadful" accent. Higgins tells Pickering that he will note down what the girl says and exactly what her accent is.... (full context)
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Amused by Eliza, Pickering offers to pay for her lessons and bets Higgins that he can't teach Eliza to... (full context)
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...anybody but me," and tells Mrs. Pearce that she can treat Eliza like a daughter. Pickering asks Higgins if it has ever occurred to him that Eliza has feelings of her... (full context)
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...He tries to tempt her with thoughts of a wealthy life, over Mrs. Pearce's protestations. Pickering objects, as well, calling Eliza "Miss Doolittle." (full context)
Social Class and Manners Theme Icon
Femininity and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...as she leaves, saying she hasn't asked for any of this. Once she is gone, Pickering asks Higgins if he is "a man of good character where women are concerned." Higgins... (full context)
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Education and Intelligence Theme Icon
Pickering tells Higgins that if he is involved with teaching Eliza, he will feel responsible for... (full context)
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...and Mr. Doolittle asks for five pounds in return for letting Eliza stay with Higgins. Pickering and Higgins are shocked at his willingness to sell his own daughter and think giving... (full context)
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Appearance and Identity Theme Icon
Social Class and Manners Theme Icon
...has more clothes for her to try on. She leaves eagerly, saying "Ah-ow-oo-ooh!" Higgins and Pickering reflect on the difficult task ahead of them in making Eliza pass for a noble... (full context)
Act 3
Language and Speech Theme Icon
Appearance and Identity Theme Icon
Social Class and Manners Theme Icon
...from the first act. Higgins thinks he recognizes Clara, but doesn't remember from where. Colonel Pickering arrives. (full context)
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...her is merely the new fashion. Mrs. Eynsford Hill still doesn't like it, and asks Pickering what he thinks. He says that he's been away in India, so is not up... (full context)
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As she leaves, Mrs. Eynsford Hill laments to Pickering that Clara is annoyed when she is not up to date with "the latest slang."... (full context)
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Mrs. Higgins asks about the state of Higgins' home, and learns that Higgins, Pickering, and Eliza are all living together now with Mrs. Pearce. Mrs. Higgins tells the two... (full context)
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Pickering assures Mrs. Higgins that they take Eliza very seriously, and Higgins calls her "the most... (full context)
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...lady from earning her own living," without the money to support such a lifestyle. But Pickering and Higgins aren't worried, and say they'll find her a job. They leave, laughing. Mrs.... (full context)
Act 4
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It is midnight at Higgins' house. Eliza, Higgins, and Pickering all enter, tired and dressed formally. Eliza is quiet, as Higgins and Pickering recount their... (full context)
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Higgins says he knew Eliza would be fine, and tells Pickering that he has long been bored with the experiment, after its early phase. Having to... (full context)
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Social Class and Manners Theme Icon
...is annoyed by Eliza's comment, and tells her she doesn't have to marry. He says Pickering can set her up in a florist's shop. He starts to leave to go to... (full context)
Act 5
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Femininity and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Mrs. Higgins is sitting in her drawing room. Her parlor-maid announces that Higgins and Pickering are downstairs, telephoning the police. Mrs. Higgins tells the maid to go upstairs and tell... (full context)
Femininity and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...down and says that Eliza has the right to leave his house when she wants. Pickering enters, having spoken with the police. Mrs. Higgins asks what right they have to go... (full context)
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...was over, when Eliza had become attached to them and had worked hard for them. Pickering concedes that he and Higgins were maybe inconsiderate to Eliza. Mrs. Higgins says she will... (full context)
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...put there himself. He continues to insult Eliza, who ignores him and talks politely to Pickering. (full context)
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Eliza tells Pickering that she is grateful to him for teaching her proper manners, unlike Higgins, who set... (full context)
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Eliza thanks Pickering for always treating her well, concluding that "the difference between a lady and a flower... (full context)
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Pickering tells Eliza to curse back at Higgins, but she says she cannot now. She says... (full context)
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Pickering encourages Eliza to go to the wedding. Eliza reluctantly agrees and leaves to get ready... (full context)
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Eliza returns and Mr. Doolittle leaves to get to his wedding. Pickering asks Eliza to forgive Higgins and come back to live at Higgins' place, before following... (full context)
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Higgins offers to adopt Eliza, or marry her to Pickering. Eliza says she doesn't want this, as Pickering is too old and Freddy Eysnford Hill... (full context)