Opening Scene of Educating Rita Essay

Opening Scene of Educating Rita Essay

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Opening Scene of Educating Rita

Explore the ways in which Russell engages the audiences interest in
the main characters and themes in the opening scene of Educating Rita
and explain whether you think the play written in 1979 is still
relevant to 2005.

Willy Russell’s play, Educating Rita, written in 1979, is a story
about a typical lower class woman called Rita who decides she wants to
lead an ‘educated life’ and she tries to do this by getting a private
tutor called Frank to teach her, but learning to lead an educated
life proves to be not what she expected.

Willy Russell introduces Frank and Rita in two very different ways.
Frank is introduced as a well read university tutor who seems to like
his drink; this is shown when Russell writes ’the walls are lined with
books’ making him appear educated. But then writes: “pulls out a pile
of books to reveal a bottle of whisky” which makes the audience
question their first impression of him as a typical university
teacher, is he an alchoholic? Does he drink too much? Is this

Rita is introduced as an uneducated, loud, rude young woman. The first
impression Russell gives the audience is Rita saying: “I’m comin’ in,
aren’t I?” to someone she has never met before, which shows a lack of
manners or simply a casual upbringing. He then shows her going to a
chair and “dumping her bag”. By using the verb “dump” Russell
immediately suggests that Rita is not a ladylike person, and this
follows the impression that she is ill mannered.

Russell presents the play as a two-hander so that the audience is
focused on the clash between Frank and Rita and the entire play is
focused on Frank and Rita’s point of view. The two very contrasting
personalities seem t...

... middle of paper ...

... or missing
something in his life, and Rita also says ‘ I want to be free’ which
means she feels trapped in her life and wants to escape and she wants
to do this by getting educated. They both seem to change through the
play almost into totally different people, Rita changes her name to
susan as she thinks it sounds ‘proper’. The play has a certain humour
about it as the two characters personalities and views are almost
opposite, this creates chaos, as neither of them knows what the other
is talking about which is amusing to the audience, and Rita is very
loud and uses a lot of swearing and slang which is not what you would
expect in a university. In conclusion, Russell uses the contrast
of the two characters in Educating Rita to create humour and engage
the audience, whilst facing issues and views that are still a problem
and relevant to today in 2005.

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