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Explore the ways in which Willy Russel depicts Rita's metamorphosis.

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Introduction

Hamish Dunn Educating Rita Explore the ways in which Willy Russel depicts Rita's metamorphosis. Rita grew up in Liverpool, left school at sixteen and at the age of twenty-six decides to re-educate herself by taking the chance to attend the open-university. At the beginning of the play Rita shows signs of nervousness and pessimism; how does the playwright, Willy Russel, delineate Rita's metamorphosis? This essay will look at how Rita's character develops as the play progresses and how Willy Russel shows these changes. In Act 1 Scene 1 Rita appears very irritable and finds the atmosphere of Frank's room very inhospitable, "Well that's no good.../...able to get out." (Pg 14) Willy Russel creates this uncomfortable feeling to demonstrate how Rita's background differs from people like Frank. Rita finds it very imposing to talk about herself and often averts the conversation to a less imposing topic i.e. "...nice picture, isn't it?" The playwright gives the audience the impression that Rita is slightly insecure about herself. Rita appears quite uneducated and ignorant at the beginning of the play, "They're all afraid of gettin' cancer." To the audience it would appear Rita is not fully committed to educating herself, "I might decide it was a soft idea." The playwright uses Rita to illustrate the difficulties the uneducated have to overcome in order to learn, the educated want to help them i.e. ...read more.

Middle

The playwright goes on to depict further changes in Rita, Rita mentions what her mother said at the pub, "...we could sing better songs than those." Willy Russel uses this phrase as it describes the way Rita feels about her current lifestyle, this phrase is what gives Rita the final push in her quest to educate herself, "And that's why I'm staying." It is because of this that Willy Russel puts so much emphasis on this scene, scene 7 is short which makes it seem to the audience to be an important step in Rita's metamorphosis. Willy Russel uses the change from Act 1 to Act 2 to depict the greatest changes in Rita. Rita returns from summer school with new found confidence and new friends. The playwright shows how much Rita has changed by reversing the roles of Frank and Rita, it now seems to the audience that Rita no longer needs Frank in the way she does at the beginning of the play, "Of course; you don't do Blake without doing innocence and experience, do y'?" In Act 2 Scene 2 the playwright delineates Rita as a fake, Rita enters Frank's office talking in a peculiar voice, "Nothing is wrong.../...in an ugly voice." (Pg83) To the audience it would appear that Rita is trying to change how she appears from the outside therefore contradicting her belief that, "...if you want to change you have to do it from the inside..." ...read more.

Conclusion

At the beginning of the play Willy Russel delineates Rita as nervous and pessimistic, Rita finds sitting down almost impossible, cannot stop talking and she regularly refers to the 'Proper Students.' As The play progresses Rita shows less signs of nervousness and begins to interact with other students. To the audience it would seem that the pivotal point of the play is when Rita returns from Summer school, the playwright makes this change all the more apparent with the change from Act 1 to Act 2. On return from summer school Rita no longer needs Frank as she once did and the playwright shows that the relationship between Rita and Frank is disintegrating as Rita succumbs to a fake lifestyle. Willy Russel uses Frank's image of Rita as 'Frankenstein' and Rita's peculiar voice to show the audience that Rita is in a stage of 'pretentious crap.' Rita marks the end of her phony phase in the last scene when she begins smoking again and tells Frank of the choice she now has. Willy Russel depicts Rita's metamorphosis by developing different aspects of her character, for example, at the beginning of the play Rita is shown to be nervous, as the play unfolds the playwright shows Rita to be more confident, thus illustrating the ways in which she changes. Willy Russel also develops Rita's language, her choice of books, her relationships with family, friends and Frank, and her knowledge of literature, in order to depict her metamorphosis. ...read more.

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