A phrase used by Alfie Dolittle, Eliza Dolittle's father in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion to describe what an educated reader of the period would have thought of as decency and respectability.

He especially bemoans the influence of middle class morality when, having been left a fortune by an eccentric American millionaire, he is bullied by his girlfriend into marriage with her, since "now I'm respectable, she wants to be respectable too", to use his own words.

The subject of Alfie's curious fate is a sub-theme of the postulation of the play, that Victorian judge and decree respectability and class according to completely superficial parameters. In Eliza's case that is speech and deportment, in Alfie's - money.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.