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"Educating Rita" and "Pygmalion". Russell and Shaw present Rita and Eliza's struggle to attempt to change by learning new languages. They both develop an identity through education but they have contrasting effects as one creates happiness the other sadne

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Introduction

'You taught me language and my profit on't / is I know how to curse'. Evaluate the significance of this by comparing and contrasting how Rita and Eliza are learning a new language in an attempt to change. Russell and Shaw present Rita and Eliza's struggle to attempt to change by learning new languages. They both develop an identity through education but they have contrasting effects as one creates happiness the other sadness. Also both women are trapped in their social class systems which expect little from them. Frank teaches Rita the academic language and critics of essay writing; whereas Higgins teaches Eliza how to speak. Eliza's change is a superficial change because she only changes the way she speaks however Rita believes that change can't be just superficial; change has to be internal as well as external, so her change is both. Rita and Eliza are both dissatisfied with their lives; they are both 'out of step' with their social class. "I've been realisin' for ages that I was...slightly out of step..." this suggests that Rita isn't happy with her life. She wants to discover herself first, this is significant because she confides into Frank who is her only link into the world she wants to belong to. Similarly, Eliza has desires to seek an alternative way of life. "The Flower Girl: I want to be a lady" Eliza's desires set her apart from her social class. ...read more.

Middle

"I shall insist upon being known as Mary, Mary Shelley" Frank believes he has constructed Rita; he thinks he has made her into a monster from the classic novel of Frankenstein. Frank and Rita both interpret each other wrongly and get the wrong idea of each other. Stephanie Kitchen argues that "He [Frank] feels education is a hoax, and is spoiling Rita's innate interest and vitality." [3]. Frank doesn't think Rita hasn't found a 'better song to sing' but just a 'different song', which doesn't reflect the true Rita. Compared with Higgins, he's constructed Eliza as the play was inspired by the Greek myth with the same name, which explores the issues of constructing the ideal woman. "...I'd make a women of you...I like you like this" Higgins has created Eliza to be a lady; she can do what she wants with her life. Frank and Higgins have abandoned their identities because they're not content with their lives; it's showing that people can be unhappy with their lives just as Rita and Eliza are unhappy with their lives, regardless of class status. The structure of both plays is significant in both women's attempt to change. At the beginning of Educating Rita, Rita is a hairdresser, but stops when she is goes through education. But at the end of the play, she goes back to being a hairdresser as she cuts Franks hair "(...begins to cut his hair.)" ...read more.

Conclusion

The structure of both plays is different; Educating Rita has 7 acts, whereas Pygmalion has 5 acts which mirror the tragedy of Aristotle. While teaching Rita she has gained dependence whereas Eliza has gained choice and independence. Both women wanted to change but in different ways. As Pygmalion is linked to the Greek myth of creating the ideal woman, it can be related to the poem of 'Pygmalion's Bride' by Carol Ann Duffy which also represents the Greek myth of Pygmalion. As Rita already knew how to curse it asks the question if she really changed or whether her identity was disguised with a different one; a better one. Eliza's change has left her uncertain with her life than what she began with as she doesn't know who she is anymore. Both women struggle with what's expected of them. Rita struggles to learn the critics of essay writing whilst Eliza struggles to conform to how to speak properly. The struggles are linked to their poor backgrounds and little education. Overall, both women struggle to change, but once they've changed, Rita has choice in what she does and can still do things she did before she changed but Eliza becomes separated from both worlds. It asks the question if either has changed or whether their true identities have just been disguised by a 'better one'. 1,788 words Critics [1] Nicholas Grene, Penguin Classics, 2003 [2] http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/reviews/theatre/Educating%20Rita.htm Stephanie Kitchen, 26.03.02 [3] http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/reviews/theatre/Educating%20Rita.htm Stephanie Kitchen, 26.03.02 [4] Nicholas Grene, Penguin Classics, 2003 ?? ?? ?? ?? Sarah King ...read more.

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