Introducting the Characters and Themes in Educating Rita

Good Essays
Introducting the Characters and Themes in Educating Rita

GCSE Coursework: In what ways is Act 1 Scene 1 of “Educating Rita” a

good introduction to the play’s main characters and themes? Do you

think Willy Russell has made his opening dramatic and entertaining?

“I’m coming in aren’t I? It’s that stupid bleedin’ handle on the

door!” is not the way in which we would expect a new university

student to talk to a lecture she had never meet before, but as we

later find out, Rita, is not a stereotypical student and her lecture,

Frank, is not a stereotypical lecture. The play “Educating Rita” is

based on an out going character, who has decided her working class

lifestyle, does not fit who she is anymore. She believes she can

change her life by achieving a higher education, to “fit in” with

everyone else around her. Changing her name from Susan to Rita is her

first step, she had now begun the great leap from the 26year old

hairdresser, to a well spoken and well educated higher classed human


This 1970’s play displays the struggle and frustration of a woman,

caught in the working class. Willy Russell uses wit, humour and his

knowledge of that time period to create and develop his two characters

as they travel through substantial changes in their lives. Willy

Russell uses two very different styles of writing for each of his

characters, the introduction to his play begins with a conversation

between lecture Frank and his wife. “Look if you’re trying to induce

some feeling of guilt in me over the prospect of a burnt dinner you

should have prepared something other than lamb and ratatouille…”

Russell was determined to show Frank’s striking upper class exterior,

with the usage of such formal and polite languag...

... middle of paper ...

...appy with life until Rita was able to show him his true

colours. Using the snappy, chatty atmosphere so early on in the play,

Willy Russell was able to keep his fairly long opening; dramatic,

entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Willy Russell’s choice to uses

such different characters to base his piece around, made one hundred

percent sure that his audiences anxiety levels would have been raised

as they became more and more intrigued, to find out if the characters

would clash or get on like a house on fire. But I believe it was Willy

Russell’s pure talent that enabled him to places to different

characters in the same scene and make it work. Using the two different

styles of writing and such different character personalities creating

an opening, which was not only dramatic and entertaining but will be

remembered in history as the starting point for woman.
Get Access