• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Willy Russell explores themes of education, relationships and social standing in his play "Educating Rita".

Extracts from this document...


Educating Rita Willy Russell explores themes of education, relationships and social standing in his play "Educating Rita". He uses two characters Frank and Rita to explore these themes. He develops them over a time period of a few months at an Open University course at college that Rita has enrolled on. Rita is in her early twenties she is working class and feels that for her to progress any further in her life she must improve her education. Frank is in his early fifties he is a failed poet, now a college lecturer he is dependent on alcohol and uses it as a means of escape. The relationship between Frank and Rita, the only two characters in the play, develops continuously throughout, from their very first meeting until they part and go their separate way at the end. We see changes in each character not all of them positive changes. I have chosen two scenes, one from each act to look at and discuss. I will look at the characters and the development of them and also the development of themes. In act one scene one Russell tries to establish each characters individual personalities. ...read more.


Throughout the first act the relationship between Frank and Rita becomes closer. Rita continues to go to her weekly sessions with Frank and they talk to each other about allsorts, least of all the poets they are studying. Frank tells Rita of his marriage problems, "I haven't seen her for a long time. We split up." They then go on to discuss the ins and outs of why and when. Rita apologises for being so nosy but Frank does not seem to mind as he answers Rita's questions and the meetings between them become like a cosy chat. Rita's relationship with her partner Denny is also a regular topic of discussion at her course. Because Frank and Rita are only two characters in the play Russell has to involve conversations like this between Frank and Rita so the audience understands the changes in the characters lives. Frank seems to be attracted to Rita in more of a sexual way other than a friendly way at times, "there's a thousand things I'd rather do than teach; most of them with you young lady..." But this does not progress any further than simple flirting. The relationship between the two of them is great until Rita goes to summer school. ...read more.


I would light the stage with a dim light because as this may be a humorous scene there is an underlying sadness to it. Frank and Rita would be picked out by spotlights as I would like the audience to focus on what they are saying because the changes in the characters are shown through what they are saying in this scene more than their surroundings. In conclusion, Willy Russell uses the characters Rita and Frank to explore the complex issues of social standing in society, education and relationships. He does this in a variety of ways including what the characters say and how they say it. As the play develops and time passes we see different changes, for example, Rita's speech develops and becomes more like that of an educated person, her sentences become longer and more complex. By the end of the play our sympathies lie with each character for different reasons. Rita still feels that an education is all that is needed to improve herself and she is proud that she has done so in the end. But we understand why Frank is so reluctant for Rita to change. The way that Russell has not said in his play that either character shows that the themes and issues he has used with is characters are not clear-cut and there is no obvious way to solve all the problems. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Educating Rita section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Educating Rita essays

  1. Discuss the themes of social class and education in Educating Rita.

    Frank realises that if he educates Rita he will take away her uniqueness, energy and vitality. He does his utmost not to teach her saying she deserves a better tutor. Rita keeps coming to Frank weekly for tutoring. At the beginning she is keen to know about all Frank's personal

  2. relationship between frank and rita in educating rita

    In Act 2 Scene 3 Frank is extremely drunk when Rita enters. This proves the point I made just before. Frank was giving a lecture when he was drunk, which is not something he would have done if Rita had not developed so much. Frank states 'Pissed. I was glorious!

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

    She has a role to be a wife- staying home and doing the housework and a mother- having and looking after babies, whilst Denny is supposed to be the breadwinner, stereotyped by society. This is why Denny would be resisting her obtaining an education, therefore she would find it difficult

  2. Educating Rita. Choose one of the main themes in the play and analyse the ...

    Also Rita doesn't know any popular literature authors or poets at the start of the play, for example, "'Do you know Yeats?' 'The wine lodge?' 'No the poet.'" This once again is thinking of another lower class approach to the name "Yeats" as "Yates" the pub chain.

  1. Educating Rita: How does Willy Russell present the development of Frank and of Rita ...

    As the play progresses and we get to the middle section of the play, Frank does not seem as if he has changed much in any way whatsoever. This, as a matter of fact, is evident from what Rita says in Act 2 Scene 2, "Just that I thought you'd started reforming yourself."

  2. Educating Rita - Explore how the director develops the complexities in these characters and ...

    Frank on the other hand is a middle class, well spoken university lecturer that reads and writes at a high level so can not cope with Rita at first but as she learns and their relationship becomes stronger (even though they didn't really know it) he begins to accept her.

  1. Do you think Ritas education is for the better? How does this reflect Russells ...

    Frank: By whom? Rita: By your mates, by your family, by everyone.' This insight into Rita's working class life shows that as a culture their attitude to education prevents them from progressing. However I believe this is really due to the middle class having no faith in people from poor

  2. In Educating Rita Willy Russell writes that education dives you a choice what changes ...

    She is very negative about herself, believing she is not quite good enough. Rita wants to be of a higher status than her friends and family, and assumes the course will bring about this transformation. She is uncomfortable with being working class, as her outlook is more middle class, yet also isn't ready to be considered middle class.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work