The Metamorphosis of Rita in Willy Russell's Educating Rita

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The Metamorphosis of Rita in Willy Russell's Educating Rita Educating Rita by Willy Russell tells the story of 'Rita' White a twenty six year old hairdresser, who is trying to gain an education at the Open University. Russell has written the whole story as a play with only two characters, Frank and Rita. All scenes are in Frank's study and follow the dialogue between Frank and Rita. Russell wrote the play in the 1980s and it is somewhat autobiographical, it explores the structure of society and its link with education at a time when education was becoming available for all classes. In this essay, I will explore these issues by looking at the relationship of the two characters and the personal fulfilment each of the characters gets out of the relationship. In the first scene, we are introduced to the play's two main characters, Frank and Rita. Russell immediately creates these two characters as the antithesis of each other, Frank, the tutor, is a very intelligent, well-educated man. Rita is not as intelligent or intellectual as Frank; she comes across as very blunt and colloquial. She does not act as someone is expected to in the company of a stranger and she does not feel at all inferior to Frank. As soon as she enters the room, she takes a commanding role and is telling Frank what to do. Frank is shocked and surprised by this apparent role reversal with the student dominating the teacher. He immediately tries to regain his position of authority "You are?" This is a very upper class phrase and Rita, unused to such language takes this phrase literally, "What am I?" Frank gets confused and so it continues until Frank gives up and ... ... middle of paper ... ... which she feels that she would like to belong. Frank could have also learn a lot from Rita's personality. She could have influenced him to be more light-hearted and revealed a spirit and joy that he may otherwise have smothered. As it ended Frank has lost nearly everything but still has the chance to make it all up again. In contrast, Rita has gained the one thing she wanted most, an education. She has many options now and can do what ever she wants with her life. "I might go to France, I might go to my mother's. I might even have a baby…I'll choose." Although Frank thought that Rita had become a monster and lost everything important I believe that Rita has gained a lot, I believe she is more of a complete person than she was at the beginning of the play and now has the chance to do anything she wants with her life.

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