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Examine Frank's growing sense of unease as Rita becomes more educated.

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Introduction

* Examine Frank's growing sense of unease as Rita becomes more educated. In the play 'Educating Rita', Willy Russell shows the growing relationship between the two main characters, Frank and Rita. Both are very different from each other, yet a bond is immediately established between them in the early stages of the play. We first see Frank to be an unorthodox, nonchalant university lecturer who has a drink problem, a failing relationship and who is unhappy with his work and life. However, Rita is seen to be very different to him. As the audience, our first impressions of Rita are that she is of working-class origin, she is very extrovert and confident. An example of this is seen in act one, scene one, in which she bursts in through the door showing no manners and says "I'm comin' in, aren't I? It's that stupid bleedin' handle on the door." This tells us immediately that she is working class, as she uses colloquial language with a local dialect, and shows no manners. She is very different to Frank who is very formal and does not swear. When Franks asks her a question, Frank says "pardon", whereas Rita then follows with the word "what?" This immediately creates a contrast Rita has applied to the Open University to become more educated, something she sees to be a trait of middle class people. She has decided to do a literature course because she wants to "see" and not to read "the sort of poetry you can understand". She wants Frank to teach her "everything" so she can change from the person she is now; to the sort of person she wants to be. The play is the story of their relationship and the way it develops both as teacher-student and on a more personal level. In this essay I will discuss how Frank is firstly attracted to her yet as she changes, becomes jealous and cold towards her as her 'uniqueness' disappears. ...read more.

Middle

Her change of clothing also symbolises her transformation. During the play, Russell uses clothes to symbolise change. In the early scenes, Rita says "I'm not going to get one either, not till - till I pass me first exam. Then I'll get...the sort of dress you'd only see on an educated woman." Her new image shows that she feels she has changed. She seems very proud of her change in the first scene of the second act, and first greets Frank with a twirl to show off her outfit. This is another sign of her confidence, to which Frank seems at first happy, but his mood soon changes to become dry, irritated and slightly upset as he realises she has bought new clothes because the tutors at summer school have helped her change. We can see he is jealous of the other tutors who have had an effect on her change, when he says "my influence gone forever." This tells us that, he very quickly presumes she does not need him when she has become educated. By scene two of the second act, Frank has developed a very strong sense of jealousy towards all the others who have had a bearing on Rita's development and life. He also seems to be annoyed that Rita spent her time talking to other students rather than coming on time to his tutorial. He firstly greets her by saying "hello Rita. You're late." It is a very formal opening instead of his usually friendly, sometimes flirtatious greeting, such as "what is this vision, returning from the city?" This shows us he now feels cold towards Rita, instead of being happy to see her as he was in earlier scenes. She is talking in an unusual voice, which she sees as making her sound more educated. Frank dislikes her 'new voice' partly because she has decided to speak in that way on the advice of Trish. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the final scene of the play, Frank and Rita meet for the last time. Frank seems to have come to terms with the transformation Rita has under-gone and Rita has begun to see that being educated does not make you happy. She has realised that the two major influences in her life both have problems, but hide them with their lifestyles, which is what she aimed to do by becoming educated. Frank presents her with a "dress...for an educated woman". The symbolism of this, refers to Rita stating in Act one, scene two that she won't get a new dress until she has passed her first exam. "The sort of dress you'd only see on an educated woman." The presentation of a dress shows his acceptance of her metamorphosis into an educated woman. Rita's many choices now include ones from her past and her present, but at the end, she cut's Frank's hair. She is doing a job which she associates with her old lifestyle, showing she has completed a complete circle. The ending that Russell has chosen is effective, as it draws together all the points of the play, by concluding Rita's change, Frank's feelings towards her and his final acceptance of the person she now is. Frank used to be attracted to her, and thought her to be a very interesting character, whereas now, she has none of the traits which attracted him to her, and so he now purely sees her as a friend, however he is still uneasy about what the future holds. Throughout the play, we see how Frank's feelings change from being attracted to her, to being cold and arrogant towards her in scene two of the second act. The ending Russell has chosen however, has no definite conclusion, and lets us imagine what might happen between the two characters in the future. However, as Frank now does not like Rita as much due to her change, it seems their relationship has runs its course, and there is no future for the two. ...read more.

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