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The character of Rita undergoes a metamorphosis in the play. What does she lose and what does she gain?

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The character of Rita undergoes a metamorphosis in the play. What does she lose and what does she gain? Educating Rita by Willy Russell tells the story of 'Rita' White a twenty six year old hairdresser, who is trying to gain an education at the Open University. Russell has written the whole story as a play with only two characters, Frank and Rita. All scenes are in Frank's study and follow the dialogue between Frank and Rita. Russell wrote the play in the 1980s and it is somewhat autobiographical, it explores the structure of society and its link with education at a time when education was becoming available for all classes. In this essay, I will explore these issues by looking at the relationship of the two characters and the personal fulfilment each of the characters gets out of the relationship. In the first scene, we are introduced to the play's two main characters, Frank and Rita. Russell immediately creates these two characters as the antithesis of each other, Frank, the tutor, is a very intelligent, well-educated man. Rita is not as intelligent or intellectual as Frank; she comes across as very blunt and colloquial. ...read more.


Frank is asking Rita to a dinner party. The dialogue between them is very short and almost monosyllabic, "will you come?" "If y' want." This scene shows there is still an awkwardness between these two characters, Rita is seen as inadequate, they are not equal in their relationship. In the end Rita does not turn up for Frank's dinner party. Rita argues that she wants to study and learn at the university, however Rita sees the middle class as totally different from herself, and although doesn't want to be working class, doesn't feel she will be accepted as middle class either. She has the idea that all middle class individuals are free, and stereotypes them, making sweeping generalisations. She assumes they all eat wholemeal bread, flora, and watch the BBC, as this is seen as more intellectually stimulating than ITV, the channel that many of the working class watch. This shows that she stereotypes certain groups of people from what she has heard, instead of her own views, she doesn't wait to get to know them before judging, she is still subjective. Rita also tells us some of the reasons for not getting an education earlier. ...read more.


She is also able to recite Blake from memory. This shows how Russell uses a dramatic technique to emphasize the change in Rita and show her independence of mind. Through out this act we continue to see positive changes in Rita's character, such as working in a bistro instead of as a hairdresser. At the same time, we are shown the role reversal and negative changes with Frank, he even lets Rita mark his poetry. In scene five, the two characters with their role reversals come head to head. Frank has realised that he has changed Rita and killed her personality. In the beginning of the play, Rita was a very bold character, reflected in her unsophisticated and flamboyant choice of clothing, and was dissatisfied with her life. Throughout the play she has changed, she has lost her individuality, flare, and become the same as all the other students around her. Frank resorts to using sarcasm, "oh I've done a fine job on you, haven't I?" He even goes as far as to compare Rita to a monster, to Frankenstein; "I shall insist upon being known as Mary Shelley." Frankenstein was a monster who was betrayed by it's creator, Frank feels he has done the same by taking away Rita's personality and innocence. ...read more.

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