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Educating Rita is a play that has both comic and serious aspects. Which seem more important to you?

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Carly McKenzie 11th November 2002 Educating Rita is a play that has both comic and serious aspects. Which seem more important to you? Introduction Educating Rita is a play written by Willy Russell in 1985. The play is based around an Open University (an idea founded in the 1960's where adult students could go to university without having to leave home and study for a degree) in Northern England. One of the central ideas of this play is culture. Russell uses different ideas to represent these cultural differences, for example the use of different dialects, different settings i.e. the dinner party for Frank and the pub for Rita. Rita comes from working class society; she has grown to hate it and believes there is more to life than what she has seen so far. Frank comes from the middle-class, a culture that Rita would like to be part of and way of life that she would like to lead. The first time we see Rita is in Act One Scene One, our first impressions of her are that she is confident, curious and eager to learn. ...read more.


In the first few scenes comedy seems to arise through misunderstandings, misinterpretations from both parties and sarcasm. For example when Rita first comes into the tutorial in act one scene one Frank asks "you are" Rita doesn't understand and replies "what am I?" this misunderstanding is humorous and its exactly similar events to these that create comedy in the play. As the play continues comedy is introduced by the language used. Rita speaks with common slang terminology she uses words such as "blindin" and "testin". The use of language has a great comic influence - people are not familiar with swear words and slang being used in literature, the comedy which people see could also be viewed as shock from seeing this unfamiliar way of writing. Willy Russell manages to strike a balance of the amount of comedy and drama in the play, despite the fact that it appears unbalanced in some places; scenes which have a more dramatic effect have less comedy in them. This is because scenes such as act one scene five where Denny finds out that Rita is taking the pill again in secret and so burns all of her books and her essays. ...read more.


This change in attitude alienates Frank, as the dependent apprehensive Rita he knew seems to drift further away from him. He says that he had tried to call her at the hairdressers where she told him she worked in act one scene one little did he no she had changed jobs to a Bistro he seems upset by this and says "there was a time where you told me everything". She questions him and says "Don't you like that the little girl has grown up" Frank and Rita's relationship deteriorates from here onwards. To me both comedy and drama are important to make the play effective, the comedy makes it more light hearted, for example the tutorials taken at face value are funny, when Frank discusses Chekhov in the theatre Rita replies with a witty comment asking "does he (as in Chekhov) go" to the theatre often. Whereas dramatic scenes allow the more serious aspects to carry more weight, for example when Rita has to choose between her husband and her studies and eventually moves out of the house. This is a serious moment in the play if Willy Russell would have scripted jokes and sarcasm into these scenes they would not be appreciated the way they were intended. 6099 13330 ...read more.

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