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What have frank and rita gained and lost by the end of the play?

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Introduction

What have Frank and Rita gained and lost by the end of the play? Over the course of the play, Educating Rita, the characters of Frank and Rita develop considerably, both gaining and shedding characteristics and changing their personalities as we progress through the play. Rita's gains are often more distinct than Frank's; however we can see by the end of the play a significant development also in the latter's character. One of the most key factors of Rita's gain over the course of the play is the character's ability to make choices of her own, and the knowledge that she can. Despite the fact that her intentions for taking it were not entirely relevant to this beneficial element, the literature course developed Rita's mental prowess so that she could make decisions with prudence and ease. Her insecurity and inhibitions in making choices were eminent particularly in the first act of Educating Rita, and much of the second act. Rita's indecisiveness is specifically evident in consideration of her relationship with her husband, Denny. Although Rita has not striven to hide the fact that her marriage is not a strong or healthy one, she fails to sever their relationship until given the ultimatum we learn of in Act 1 scene 8. We also learn of her reluctance to socialize with educated people in Act 1 scene 6, although she had previously expressed the wish to be a part of middles-class society. ...read more.

Middle

Her husband, Denny, had held the stereotypical view that his wife was supposed to help him at home and have a baby. Rita's thirst for knowledge and want to be educated did not follow this, and their differences led to Rita being given an ultimatum by Denny. Rita being thrown out of the house shows the lack of love and respect Denny held for her, a direct cause of these traits. Frank had admired the original character of Rita, but his lack of encouragement in her desire to change herself proved his distaste in her new character. This is particularly evident at the end of scene 6 in the second act. Frank scorns Rita when she presents her new persona to him, describing what she thinks is a new culture, as 'shrill and hollow and tuneless'. He also mocks her, suggesting sophisticated author's names to replace her own. We can also see Frank's lack of respect for her when he snubs her in the last scene of the play, after she has passed her exam and has fully transformed into her new character. By the end of the play, we can see signs that Rita has also lost some respect in herself. Although she is relatively proud that she has passed her exam, some regret and wistfulness are also evident. In Act 2 scene 7, she describes to Frank that she understood only in the exam what Frank had been trying to warn her of, that her appreciation of literature would comprise only of 'a load of quotes and empty phrases'. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, from scene 3 of the second act, we can begin to see him lose this confidence as he describes a lecture in which he was drunk enough to 'fall off the rostrum'. This idea is reinforced in scene 5, when he feebly attempts to mock Rita after she has left the room, and scene 6, when Frank calls the hairdresser's where Rita used to work and her flatmate Trish, with strong hesitations and inhibitions. Frank's biggest loss is Rita. Frank has been greatly dependant upon Rita's original personality, and by the close of the play, he has lost the presence of this. His dependence is evident throughout the play, particularly in Act 2 scene 4 when he comments, 'it struck me that there was a time when you told me everything', and in scene 3 when he justifies repeatedly warning Rita not to lose her original character with 'I care for you'. As a result of his dependence, we can see aspects of Rita's old character in Frank's developed one - he now possesses spontaneity, inquisitiveness and vivacity similar to what the audience saw Rita's character to have possessed in the opening of the play. Frank's character has gained little in comparison to Rita's: while we can expect Rita to continue through many opportunities in her life, there is more doubt as to what to expect from Frank, a middle-aged alcoholic. However both characters have developed substantially in the play, both in their understanding of society and perception of life, and the audience can now see two characters who have improved since the opening of Willy Russell's Educating Rita. ...read more.

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