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How does Willy Russell create dramatic tension and humour in the opening of Educating Rita?

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Introduction

How does Willy Russell create dramatic tension and humour in the opening of Educating Rita? Educating Rita is a play that was written in 1985 by Willy Russell. A theme that is focused on in the play is personal relationships. The two main characters, Frank and Rita, influence each other. Rita develops during the course of the play from a brash woman who knows nothing about literature to a lady that has a high knowledge of the subject. Frank, however, does not develop as much. The only progress he makes is down hill. The play opens in Franks book lined study in a University situated in Northern England. Frank is revealed on the telephone to his wife. The study is noticeably untidy. The place has a tatty, shabby feel to it and it becomes clear that Frank has not looked at many of his books for years. This shows that his restlessness and discomfort with his position in life. ...read more.

Middle

We can tell that she is different from the moment we hear this continuous knocking. She seems to burst in unexpectedly and immediately looks out of place. The audience certainly would not expect to see a loud, strident character enter at that moment. She curses about the door handle and soon makes herself at home, dumping her bag on the nearest chair. Rita is a twenty six year old hairdresser who has decided to undertake a literature course at a university. She is noticeably uneducated. This is evidenced when she says in relation to swearing, "The educated classes know its only word don't they? I do it to shock them sometimes." On the subject of an alcoholic drink she also says, "Y' wanna be careful with that stuff, it kills y' brain cells" which shows that she is a determined, strong-minded lady who sensibly knows what is best for her. She is in addition very lively and amusing. This is demonstrated when she salutes and jokily says to Frank, "On my oath as an ex-Brownie." ...read more.

Conclusion

Rita and Franks relationship differ from most teacher and student relationships. Rita is not a full time student unlike most and she has a life out of college. She varies from most students as she is older and has a capacity to disrespect Frank. Bizarrely Rita seems to educate Frank as much as Frank educates her. There are clues at the start of the play that show that Frank and Rita's relationship is going to develop. Rita reminds Frank that some people actually enjoy reading and are not all pretentious students who claim they like literature and are experts on the subject. She makes a complete difference to Frank's life and gives him a much-needed breath of fresh air. Rita helps Frank to see there is value to his life. Frank tries to make Rita see that she does not need to act and speak like other students. Both Frank and Rita challenge each other during the scene. The audience may be left wondering if Rita and Frank are going to get together during the scene or feeling that Frank may change mentally. James Noton 11G ...read more.

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