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How does Russell reveal to the audience the change in Rita's character?

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Introduction

How does Russell reveal to the audience the change in Rita's character? Educating Rita is a play about a 26 year old hairdresser who follows her ambition to be educated throughout the course of the play. Not only does she get herself an education she learns some vital lessons that lead her on her journey of self discovery. The play has various themes which it addresses, the main ones being choice, class and education. This essay will examine how Willy Russell reveals the changes in Rita's character to the audience. The focus will be on language, structure, characterisation and dramatic devices to answer the question. The main setting of the play is on the first floor of a Victorian-built university in the north of England is to elevate herself. The fact that Rita has to climb to the first floor suggests Rita's journey is to elevate herself and it shows the progression of Rita's character. It shows struggle in her character as does how she immediately struggles to get through the door. 'I'm comin' in, aren't I? It's that stupid bleedin' handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed!' The un-oiled door shows a barrier between them and a barrier between Rita and what her ambitions. ...read more.

Middle

Instead of her usual entrance she comes in and twirls on the spot to show her new, second hand clothes. They're new showing that she has passed a certain stage but she's wearing another persons clothes showing she could be living again for the second time. Also when recalling what happened in her first lecture she says she stood up without even having anything to say. Her confidence broods overconfidence and this can be seen as her weakness. She feels she is ready and has overcome everything stopping her from getting an education but she still can't open the window. She's become less dependable on Frank as she realises she doesn't need him anymore. An example of this is when she says that they should do Blake and she says she has already done them. In Act 2.2 she seems to be all consumed about literature but she's not able to see it. Trish and her new middle class friends have replaced Frank and she even comes in talking in a changed voice because Trish has convinced her that she has to look the educated part and her 'stupid voice' is a hindrance to that. In Act 2.3 we see a role reversal between the two characters. ...read more.

Conclusion

Willy Russell reveals to the audience the change in Rita's character by changing something in most scenes. In the first few scenes we, as the audience are just getting to know her character and so at first there are only little changes like the way she enters in each scene. In the first two scenes you see her as a character already trying to develop as she oils the door that once was a barrier to her. The most significant change in her character is when she goes to summer camp in Act 2.1 and spends six weeks away from Frank. One way that Russell shows the change is through her buying new, second hand clothes. This shows although she feels she has passed a credible stage, she is living and being educated for the second time. This is an autobiographical link between Russell's and Rita's lives as they both start again at college. This is one reason why Educating Rita was successful as a dialogue play; it mirrors the reality of life. In the last scene of the play, Rita realises that middle class life isn't as good as she thought it was. Also, we learn she accepts her culture buy cutting Frank's hair and this shows that not only has she become educated, she has discovered who she is and how important class is. ...read more.

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