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How does the playwright show the changes in Rita's character during the play?

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Introduction

How does the playwright show the changes in Rita's character during the play? 'Educating Rita' is a play written and set in 1985. There are two characters, Rita and Frank, though others are referred to during the course of the play. Rita is a working-class, twenty-six year old hairdresser. She has taken the decisive step of enrolling on an English Literature Course at the Open University. It was a difficult decision to make as it meant breaking away from the restrictions imposed on her by her husband, the community and her background. The main theme of the play is change. During the course of the play we see many changes in both Rita and the relationship between her and her tutor, Frank. One of the most noticeable changes in Rita is that she becomes more educated, widens her vocabulary and develops her cultural awareness. When we are first introduced to Rita we are introduced to a lively, confident woman. Though obviously not fully educated, we can see she is not unintelligent. She shows signs of astuteness that need to built on and developed. We see that she is not unintelligent when the playwright shows Rita's ability to understand Frank, and then to make an analogy on her level. ...read more.

Middle

Before she thought only proper pupils sat on the lawn, but now she wanted to sit there, like a student. "Down there - on the grass - come on." Later on Russell again shows us that Rita is becoming a 'proper' student when her essay is on the pile with the others. "Oh - it - erm - wouldn't look out of place with these." Rita also begins talking with some other students, again showing that she feels she is like them. "Yeh, I got here early today. I started talking to some students down on the lawn." During the course of the play as Rita becomes more educated, her attitude towards learning with Frank changes. All this becomes obvious at the beginning of the second Act, after Summer School. Rita does not seem to care much about her tutorials with Frank anymore and Russell illustrates this when Rita turns up late," No - honestly, Frank - I've wasted your time. I'll see y' next week, eh?" She also forgets to tell Frank about her new flatmate Trish, [Rita] "Trish was goin' on about those; is that all it is, eggs? [Frank] "Trish?" [Rita] "Trish, me flatmate, Trish." ...read more.

Conclusion

He possesses all the knowledge, and speaks the right words. Rita, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite; she struggles with language and needs help. Act 1 shows Rita's gradual development to the point where she fits in. The interval the turning point of the play and this is where Rita begins to change dramatically; she now seems to be the one to take charge. Act two shows role reversal, where Rita is the one who is encouraging Frank to start writing poetry again, and she no longer needs him any more. The fact that the more Rita is educated means that she needs Frank less and this then leads to their relationship conflict. The play has been structured in such a way where Rita's changes are obvious. The first act being where she needs Frank's advice and where she is uneducated. The interval is the turning point, where so much happens to Rita, where she changes and then Act 2, where she takes charge and her relationship with Frank is breaking up. Thus, Rita emerges from her metamorphosis as a whole, more rounded character. There is no more of the false language and along with the return of her natural speech, comes her old vibrant sense of humour. She has matured and symbolically, Frank's present of the dress serves to emphasise this fact. Hannah Walsh 10Y ...read more.

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