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How far do you consider Frank to be the comic focus of the play "Educating Rita"?

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Introduction

´╗┐How far do you consider Frank to be the comic focus of the play? To a substantial degree Frank is the comic focus of the play, Willy Russell presents him at the start with a fundamental sense of humour essential to the comic themes of the play, his character is reinforced throughout the play and the contrast between Frank and Rita exploits a class difference which shows the real purpose of the humour. He is then denoted as an allegorical function to expose the class system, Russell?s true comic focus. The play opens with a comical monologue from Frank; he is on the phone with Julia, an ex-student with whom he lives, and although there is an underlying sense of despondency in this scene when looking further into his character, the comedy is obvious and conceals the truth of Frank?s tragic life. This is portrayed through his sarcasm in his dispute over the ?ratatouille?, and the way in which he comments on his own drinking problem after Julia?s remark. This is comical due to the reality that they?re arguing over something so insignificant and yet become so aggravated. This ?sugarcoating? holds true comic applicability as comedy can be strongly linked with tragedy as the credibility of the characters holds true purpose to the audience and therefore feel an affinity to such characters which may be of great importance to Russell when choosing and depicting a ?focus? of the play. ...read more.

Middle

Russell capitalises on this to make her the original comic focus of the play but just masks the underlying themes and motifs that are of greater importance and are more relevant to this play. In another sense you could argue that there is an interdependency between Frank and Rita; a sense that there would be no humour without the other character, when we consider that they are the only two characters, then a relationship must be formed between the two otherwise the play simply wouldn?t function. This relationship often consists of them bouncing the humour back and forth, for example: ?And you are?? ?I?m a what?? ?Pardon?? ?What?? ?And you are? What is your name?? ?Me first name?? ?Well that would constitute some sort of start?. These misunderstandings aren?t only humorous but address the serious social matter of their difference in class and upbringing, Frank being the well spoken educated formal character, and Rita speaking colloquially and using slang and profanities. The confusion is the result of the socio-economic problems of the seventies but in a light hearted manner points out the way in which both ends of the system were furthering away. This is also shown in Rita?s reference to Frank as being a ?Flora man? and her remarks on ?ITV? and Farrah Fawcett-Majors etc, this may be dated but these class separations are quintessential to the comedy and their affiliation with one another, as Frank becomes captivated by Rita. ...read more.

Conclusion

of the short sentences and idiolect coming through with the shortened words and phrases, but it calls attention to this serious matter that addresses the socio-economic difference between Rita and Frank as well as, in this case, the sexist society. As Willy Russell was from a working class background he may feel it necessary to point out such issues using a comical medium. So this could dictate the notion that the real comic focus of the play was actually what the characters and themes represented as oppose to the actual characters. To conclude I would view the comic focus not as a single character, theme or subsidiary entity, as the play aims its humour at a range of topics. Therefore to a substantial degree Frank is a comic focus of the play, but the comedy would not ensue without all other present forms of comedy. On a fundamental level, I would say the humour that Frank and Rita utilise is very much equal, but the target of the humour may start off as Rita as she is somewhat easier to prey upon being uneducated, but this dynamic then shifts to Frank as he is the unchanged of the two. Yet again on the metaphorical level of the class system, it is the upper class, Frank, who become the victims of the comedy. It is not a question of which character is the comic focus but rather how Willy Russell uses comedy to express a matter related to characters he created. ...read more.

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