Educating Rita by Willy Russell

2120 Words9 Pages
Educating Rita by Willy Russell “ How do the characters of Frank and Rita change throughout the play and what is Russell’s purpose of using the technique?” Educating Rita is a play written by Willy Russell who was born in Liverpool, Whiston. “I really don’t want to write plays which are resigned, menopausal, despairing and whining. I don’t want to use any medium as a platform for displaying the smallness and hopelessness of man.” Willy Russell wrote Educating Rita as a comedy, he wanted to write a funny play to be watched and not to be studied. Coming from a working class family and society, he witnessed a deep injustice in the way lower classes were treated. Even though people who were working class had wonderful qualities, they were often regarded as worthless. In Educating Rita there are two classes, the lower class that is represented by Rita and the upper class represented by Frank. Russell reveals that although both characters come from different classes, they can both learn from each other. In this play there are only two characters. Although many other people are important to the play, Rita and Frank are the central characters. Rita is a 26-year-old woman who has decided to take a course in English Literature at the Open University. Frank, who is in his early fifties, is Rita’s tutor at the University. From the first opening scene we immediately see that Frank has a drinking problem, as he hides bottles of alcohol behind books in his study. Frank is in his study on the phone to his girlfriend to whom we can see he does not like much “…yes just pop off and put your head in the oven…” At the start of Act 1 Frank shows that he is uninterested in Rita, prejudges her and thinks that she ... ... middle of paper ... ... one she leaves behind. She does pay a price, by leaving Danny and not having a baby yet, she gets what she want’s, an education. In the play, education is portrayed as a game when they are in the university – not going there for the need of an education but to acquire the lifestyle that an ‘educated’ person would so. Frank doesn’t know this game, but Rita does and at the end of the play she realises what it has done to her. At the beginning of the play she is an ‘uneducated’ woman, who knows little about academic things but has a lot of experience about life. She doesn’t value the knowledge which she already has much. She throws away her old life and what she gets back - Frank thinks- is much less valuable. But to Rita, education is a way out of mediocrity into a superior lifestyle. The tragedy is that she pays for it by becoming a different person.
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