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Do you think it is right to call Educating Rita a serious comedy?

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Do you think it is right to call Educating Rita a serious comedy? I think that it is right to call Educating Rita a serious comedy as it is a funny play but it also has some very serious points in it. Right from the beginning, in the first scene of the play, we can tell that it is a funny play. Rita enters the office and she sees a picture. She remarks, "Y' don't paint pictures like that so that people can admire the brush strokes, do y'?" Here Rita is making a joke about the fact that there are naked figures in the picture, but also there is a serious point to this quotation. Rita recognises that it was a religious painting and when it was painted, there were no other naked paintings apart from religious ones. In the play a lot of subtle comedy is tied in, especially in Rita's mistakes. " I tried to read this thing he wrote called J. Arthur Prufrock." Here, Rita mistakes the poem "J. Alfred Prufrock" which is a poem about breaking free, with "J. Arthur". J. Arthur is completely different, as J. Arthur Rank is used as cockney rhyming slang. With this mistake, she thought the poem was called J. Arthur, as J. Arthur Rank was a film company. She would have seen this many times before, so she presumed the title was the same as the filmmaker. ...read more.


From this quotation, we see why Rita took up the Open University course, and why she wants to learn. The quotation shows her passion of wanting to succeed on the course. "Rita - 'The ones who come here all the time. The proper students.' Frank - 'Yes. First glimmer of sun and they're all out there.' Rita - 'Readin' and studyin'? Frank - 'Reading and Studying? Who do you think they are, human? Proper students don't read and study.'" Frank does not make many jokes, but here is a good example. He has been a teacher for a long time and he knows that students don't do much work, unlike what Rita thinks of a stereotypical student. In act two, Rita starts to get more clever, so the jokes made in the rest of the play are more educated, and are not only funny because we are laughing at Rita's stupidity. " Rita - I walked over an' said, "Excuse me but I couldn't help overhearin' the rubbish you were spoutin' about Lawrence". ... I said tryin' to compare Chatterley with Sons and Lovers is like tryin' to compare sparkling wine with champagne. The next thing is there's this heated discussion, with me right in the middle of it." Here, not now is Rita talking to other people about novels, but she is so confident in her knowledge that she is starting off an argument with her beliefs. ...read more.


Together they stay up and discuss poetry and do 'proper' things together. Frank doesn't take it too nicely, and he bursts out and gets into arguments with Rita usually after she says these things to him. Rita is becoming more educated than Frank because she is doing work outside of the time when she sees Frank; she is spending most of her free time working. Now she does not work in a hairdressers, she works in a bistro, all of these things show how much more sophisticated Rita is getting. I think, overall that the play is a serious comedy. In the first act of the play, there were an equal amount of serious and comical parts. In the second act, there is an absence of comedy. As Rita becomes more educated, she stops telling jokes, as she doesn't see the need to any more. Frank starts to tell jokes that Rita doesn't find funny, as she is more educated. There is almost a reversal of roles in the two acts, with Frank being the more educated in the first act and Rita being the person who didn't understand the jokes, and vice-versa in the second act. Rita was telling the majority of jokes in the first act, but she fails to tell many in the second act. It is a funny play, but I think it develops into more of a serious play as the play goes on. Edward Amoroso 1 ...read more.

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