EDUCATING RITA: What themes are developed by Willy Russell in his play 'Educating' Rita, and how does he develop his characters to reflect those themes?

7014 Words Feb 1st, 2004 29 Pages
Educating Rita by Willy Russell explores the relationship between the two characters involved in the play, Frank and Rita over a time span, of several months. A variety of themes are explored as Rita, a working class Liverpudlian, aspires to a higher social and academic level so that she may have choices, with Frank, a disillusioned and failed poet as her teacher.

As Rita progresses, Russell uses a range of dramatic techniques and tensions between the two characters to explore themes of the personal, class, relationships, gender, dependence, superiority and education. This produces an effective and dramatic piece with clear character and plot development. The play could be staged in a number of ways, and when considering how staging would
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Julia is an ex-student, yet both respond in the same way to Frank, trying in a sense to, 'mother' him and he accepts this, both sexes following their stereotypical roles. The way Rita sees him as superior in the same sense as Julia brings up the theme of gender conflict, alongside class and social status, and is another reason why Rita sees him as superior and above mundane tasks.

After oiling the door, Rita's next action reinforces this relationship. She refuses to sit down in the chair with 'its 'back to the door' conveys how unsophisticated and insecure she is. The way that Frank offers her his chair, but she refuses with her comment, 'You're the teacher' shows how she sees their separate roles, with him with a greater status, again introducing the theme of superiority. Rita even feels Frank's taste is superior to hers, 'That's 'cos you've got taste.' Although Frank has not yet commented how he feels that he is superior to Rita in terms of both education and class, the way he responds to her clearly shows how he feels they are not on equal terms. The fact that Frank is amused by Rita wondering whether or not she has reformed him reflects this, and throughout the scene he uses education as a
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