From your study of Willy Russell's Educating Rita, describe which
character in the play changes the most
· How the characters change
· The characters role in the play
· How the playwright uses dramatic devices
· How the use of language shows these changes
· How these changes reflect the social, historical and cultural
The play 'Educating Rita' was written by Willy Russell in 1985, for
all the 'Rita's' and all the 'Frank's' in the audience. The play is
based on Willy Russell's life so it could be interpreted as an
autobiographical play. Like Rita, Russell did not study at school so
he did not have any O levels, so he wanted an education to get away
from Hairdressing like Rita wanted an education to see what she could
become. At this point in the play Frank can tell Rita anything and she
will listen and believe all of it. As time goes on she looses this
hunger for knowledge because of summer school and her flatmate Trish
that dramatically changes Rita. At the end of the play the two
characters seem to have changed roles, Rita comes back from summer
school and knows more then she ever thought she could and discovers
that the 'proper students' are not as good and intelligent as she
thought. Franks relationship with Julia is breaking down and the
banishment to Australia seems more and more imminent. The two seem to
swap roles because Frank used to tell Rita things and she would try
and understand it, but the return from summer school shows that she
has memorised Blake poetry and has significantly changed.
Rita is driven by the need for education, having realised that life
has more to offer then her ordinary existence in the hairdressing
salon. Rita says to Frank that before having a baby with Denny she
would need to discover herself, and have a choice, not the choice
Denny speaks of: a choice of which washing powder to use, or which
school or one lousy job or another but of career and what direction
her life takes, not the stereotypical things that she is getting
pushed into: Get married have baby and a dull job. Rita changes
dramatically as the play progresses this is shown at the start of the
play because she doesn't understand Franks 'middle class' language, in
the opening scene when you first see Frank and Rita together Frank
says to Rita:
Frank: 'You are?'
Rita: 'What am I?'
Frank: 'Now you are'
Rita: 'I'm a what?'
Rita doesn't understand Frank. Rita's family seems to escape their
problems through alcohol but the scene in the bar when Rita's mother
starts to cry saying that they could be singing better songs than the
one they were singing at the moment, this is used as a metaphor: when
she talks about the song I think she means about their lives, that
they could have done so much more with their lives then what they
have. After summer camp Frank says that Rita hasn't found a better
song but a different one.