What is the meaning of Pygmalion? Concept, Definition of Pygmalion

Definition, Concept, Meaning, What is Pygmalion

1. Concept of Pygmalion

Pygmalion: The love of a statue

Cyprus was the sculptor Pygmalion, the artist who did not like women because, as he believed, these were imperfect and subject of much criticism. And he was so convinced of the correctness of his view that resolved not never marry and spend the rest of his life without female company.
But, as I couldn't stand the complete solitude, the Cypriot artist sculpted a statue of ivory as beautiful and perfect as - according to juzgaba_ any real woman could be. And, both admire their work, he ended up falling for her. came you to buy the most beautiful clothes, jewelry and flowers: gifts more expensive. Every day he spent hours and hours looking into it, and, occasionally, tenderly kissed lips still and cold. Perhaps this silent love, if not for the intervention of Venus had lived until the end of his days. As the goddess was intense cult on the island where Pygmalion lived. In his honor the most pompous ceremonies and the richest sacrifices were held, and its temple of Paphos, for example was the most important of the venusinos shrines of the Hellenic world.
At one of these parties, according to the poet Ovid, the sculptor was present. Also he offered sacrifices and rose to heaven your ardorosas pleas: "you oh gods!, to whom anything is possible I implore you to give me wife" - did not dare to say my Virgin of ivory - "a girl that looks like my Virgin of ivory.
Watchful, the goddess of love heard the order, and to show to Pygmalion who was willing to take care of it, did raise the flame of the altar of the sculptor three times higher than the other altars. but the unhappy artist did not understand the meaning of the signal.
He came out of the sanctuary and, saddened, took the path of your home. Upon arrival, it was to contemplate the perfect statue again. And after hours and hours of silent contemplation, he kissed her on the lips. It had then a surprise: instead of cool ivory, found a soft skin and a burning mouth. A new Kiss statue woke up and acquired life, transforming into a beautiful real woman who fell madly in love of the creator.
To complete the happiness of the artist, Venus led the union and guaranteed her fertility. The wedding was born a son, Paphos, which had the happiness to bequeath his name to the city, dedicated to the goddess, who was born around the shrine dedicated to the numen of the universal attraction.


Pygmalion was a sculptor from Cyprus, which caught some inquina women, no one knows why. He locked himself in his workshop to make women more beautiful and perfect, but which had no life to be marble. It took several days building it. As it would be beautiful that he remained hours looking at her without fatigue. I was giving algamatofilia (fall for a statue or a doll) for his work, Pygmalion hugged her and kissed her.
Turns out that once Aphrodite (Venus), realized and decided to help him. That night was Pygmalion to say goodbye to Galatea, which was called the statue, and it was feeling her warm skin. Aphrodite had given life to the statue.

2 What Pigmalion

Pygmalion is the name of a mythological character, whose origins go back to the ancient Greece. According to the myth, it was a monarch who does not find the ideal woman for marriage, have opted to develop sculptures that would allow it to supplement the presence of women as a life partner.
The story goes that Pygmalion ended up falling in love with one of his creations, named Galatea. The goddess Aphrodite was moved to the desire of Pygmalion (reflected through a dream that King had) and granted life to sculpture, transforming to Galatea in a human being.
This myth took different representations in film and theatre. One of the most popular theatrical works based on the story was written by Irishman George Bernard Shaw in 1913, an author who would win the Nobel Prize in literature later.
The Greek myth, on the other hand, is taken to explain a phenomenon known as the Pygmalion effect, which holds that what he thinks one subject over another may have influence on the performance of this second individual.
The Pygmalion effect can be manifested in various ways. A teacher may have certain expectations regarding their students, finally determining the performance of the students through their forecasts. The Pygmalion effect may also appear when a person manages to realize their expectations from his conviction for this achievement.
It is important to highlight that the Pygmalion effect can be negative (when expectations affect against the self-esteem of the person) or positive (forecasts raise self-esteem).

3. Definition of Pygmalion

In Greek mythology, the legend of Pygmalion and Galatea (in ancient Greek Πυγμαλίων καὶ Γαλατεία) is associated with the island of Cyprus. She was told by Ovid in his metamorphoses.
Pygmalion, King of Cyprus, sought during a lot of time to a woman with whom to marry. But on one condition: should be the perfect woman. Frustrated in his search, he decided not to marry and devote his time to create beautiful sculptures to compensate for the absence. One of these, Galatea, was so beautiful that Pygmalion fell in love with the statue.
Through the intervention of Aphrodite, Pygmalion dreamed that Galatea was paid life. The myth of the metamorphoses of Ovid, relates as well: Pygmalion approached the statue and touching it, found it was hot, the ivory is softening and that deposing its hardness, it ceded to the fingers gently, as mount Hymettus wax softens the rays of the Sun and is left to handle with your fingers, taking several figures and becoming more docile and soft management. To see it, Pygmalion is filled with a great joy mixed with fear, believing that he cheated. He returned to touch the statue again and made sure that it was a flexible body and veins gave their pulses to explore them with your fingers.
Upon awakening, Pygmalion was found with Aphrodite, who, moved by the desire of the King, told him "you deserve happiness, a happiness that you've captured. Here the Queen that you searched for. Love it and defend it from evil." And so it was as Galatea became human.
This mythological story gives rise to the Pygmalion effect.

Pygmalion effect

The Pygmalion effect is one of the events he describes as the belief that a person has over another can affect the performance of this other person. This means, therefore, something important to know and study for professionals in the field of education, labour, social and family.
The Pygmalion effect can be identified in the following ways:
• Event whereby a person gets what he previously proposed because of the belief that you can get it.
• 'Expectations and forecasts of teachers about how that somehow it would lead students, determine precisely the behaviors that teachers expected.' (Rosenthal and Jacobson).
• A self-fulfilling prophecy is an expectation that encourages people to act in ways that make the expectation become certain.

Types of Pygmalion effect

Positive Pygmalion effect: the positive Pygmalion effect refers to one that produces a positive effect on the subject, in such a way that it strengthens the aspect on which occurs the effect, leading to an increase of the self-esteem of the subject and the aspect in particular.
Negative Pygmalion effect: negative Pygmalion effect is one that produces the self-esteem of the subject decreases and the appearance which is acted decrease or even disappear.

The origin of the Pygmalion effect

The Pygmalion effect originates from a Greek myth, in which a sculptor called (Πυγμαλίων in ancient Greek) Pygmalion fell in love with one of his creations: Galatea. So was his passion for sculpture that treated her as if it were a real woman, as if it were alive. The myth continues when the sculpture comes to life after a dream of Pygmalion, by work of Aphrodite, to see the love that this felt by the statue, depicting the woman of his dreams.
This event was named as the Pygmalion effect since it surpassed what I expected of himself and to believe that the statue was alive this became effectively it. Also the term also Pigmalión de George Bernard Shaw finds its origin in the play.

Areas of the Pygmalion effect


Rosenthal and Jacobson studied the Pygmalion effect from the perspective of the theory of self-fulfilling prophecy. We understand this theory as one of the factors that influence the motivation of the students in the classroom. Apparently, it seems that it is a magic effect, but it is not, what happens is that teachers formulate expectations about behaviour in different class and will be treated differently according to these expectations. It is possible to give students that they consider more trained more and bigger incentives, more time for answers, etc. These students, to be treated differently, respond differently, thus confirming the expectations of teachers and providing the answers sound more frequently. If this becomes a continuously over several months, will get better school results and top ratings in reviews.


If an employee receives the continued acceptance of his boss, it is very possible that exhibit a high-performing their functions and therefore its performance is higher, as well as cash. If on the other hand, its capabilities are always questioned by superior, the indifferent attitude and motivation by the subordinate will increase, which will unquestionably lead to a decrease in the quantity and quality of their work. In the business world, the Pygmalion effect comes to mean that all Chief has an image made up of collaborators and treated according to it; but the most important thing is that that image is perceived by the collaborator but the head does not communicate it. In such a way that when it is positive, everything is going well, but occurs when it is negative, quite the opposite.


In all social groups, cultural tradition assigns norms of behavior that is expected its members to adapt. Usually implied, these rules impose codes of conduct that is not easy to avoid, for example, that a woman should have delicate gestures or if a person's family is wealthy, then that person must live in a luxurious home. What begins as an imitation by the children what their parents do becomes its own way of being. This means that people acquire a role from the others, and they end up believing it himself. Then, we can say we are what others expect us to be. Merton sociologist, in 1948, applied this concept to the sociological field, idea that could explain part of the current economic crisis. This author says that fear of a bank failure, in a home without foundation, leads to the citizens to withdraw their deposits of such Bank, indeed, lead to bankruptcy. It also applies this concept to social prejudices from the same approach.