Educating Rita by Willy Russell Essay

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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
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Rita enters the scene and immediately takes control over the situation. She talks a lot throughout the scene and she admits that she is nervous and that is why she is testing Frank:

“ That’s what I do. Y’ know, when I’m nervous.”

Rita wants to be educated because she says, “I wanna know”. She knows she isn’t ‘educated’ yet and dimly realises what education is, but her perceptions are stereotypical. She doesn’t consider herself a proper student and singles herself out a lot for example: “You work for the ordinary university, don’t y’? With the proper students.” She has low self-esteem and undermines herself so she doesn’t call herself a
“proper” student.

Frank is educated to a high standard and has lots of knowledge, which is academic- out of books- not really practical knowledge for living- everything is second hand. Rita is practical minded and straightforward. Her non academic way of beginning a discussion about the picture on the wall “erotic, “men-only” and her contradictory views on smoking “challenging death and disease” show a non-specific approach on things. The conversation between Frank and Rita often doesn’t work as they think of different things when talking about literature. Frank has little knowledge about popular culture and pulp fiction while Rita does:

Frank “Ah Dylan Thomas...”

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