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Frank's Growing Sense Of Unease As Rita Becomes More Educated

3773 words - 15 pages

Frank's Growing Sense of Unease as Rita Becomes More Educated

In the play 'Educating Rita', Willy Russell shows the growing
relationship between the two main characters, Frank and Rita. Both are
very different from each other, yet a bond is immediately established
between them in the early stages of the play. We first see Frank to be
an unorthodox, nonchalant university lecturer who has a drink problem,
a failing relationship and who is unhappy with his work and life.
However, Rita is seen to be very different to him. As the audience,
our first impressions of Rita are that she is of working-class origin,
she is very extrovert and confident. An example of this is seen in act
one, scene one, in which she bursts in through the door showing no
manners and says "I'm comin' in, aren't I? It's that stupid bleedin'
handle on the door." This tells us immediately that she is working
class, as she uses colloquial language with a local dialect, and shows
no manners. She is very different to Frank who is very formal and does
not swear. When Franks asks her a question, Frank says "pardon",
whereas Rita then follows with the word "what?" This immediately
creates a contrast Rita has applied to the Open University to become
more educated, something she sees to be a trait of middle class
people. She has decided to do a literature course because she wants to
"see" and not to read "the sort of poetry you can understand". She
wants Frank to teach her "everything" so she can change from the
person she is now; to the sort of person she wants to be. The play is
the story of their relationship and the way it develops both as
teacher-student and on a more personal level. In this essay I will
discuss how Frank is firstly attracted to her yet as she changes,
becomes jealous and cold towards her as her 'uniqueness' disappears. I
will also discuss the symbols Russell uses to symbolise changes (in
her and the relationship), such as clothing and occupation and how the
relationship changes throughout the play.

During the early scenes of the play, we are first met by the two
characters. Frank is immediately seen to be in control of the
relationship, as Rita looks up to him and needs him to help her attain
her goal. She has respect for him because she sees him as her way to
become educated. She says to him, "aren't you clever" when he finds a
way to get her to understand 'Peer Gynt', showing she sees him to be
more intellectual than her, therefore needing him to become an
educated woman and the status in society which she associates this
with. She seems very determined to learn, she wants to know
"everything". In this case Rita is using hyperbole as she sees being
educated as a way to know "everything", although this is an impossible
goal. Frank firstly seems very amused by her, and keeps asking her
questions...

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