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The opening scene of Educating Rita is one that really catches the audience's attention in many different ways

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The opening scene of 'Educating Rita' is one that really catches the audience's attention in many different ways and to which some can relate to, be it through actions taken or through a character's attitude. The opening is only set in Frank's office. By doing this, Russell is able to concentrate more on the humour and the drama of the play. It also enables the reader to focus on Frank and Rita's developing relationship, and also the characters' changes throughout the scene. The scene introduces the problems of both Frank and Rita, without going into depth over either of the character's troubles too soon. It is the instant clash that catches the audience's attention which makes it such a lively and effective opening. Russell uses stage direction as well as his character's personalities to keep information on these two characters flowing. He uses symbolism as a way of describing his characters without it being too obvious to his audience that he's letting on more and more about them. ...read more.


We learn now that Frank also has a drinking problem. The phone then rings, just as Frank is about to take a gulp of his Whisky, and it turns out to be Julia, Frank's girlfriend which we later discover. They have a conversation that increases in venom until there's a knock at Frank's door. Russell uses the telephone call with Frank's girlfriend to give the audience information about Frank. Whoever is on the other side of the door is having trouble making their way inside, and so Frank begins to get irritated with their persistent knocking after he has already said, "Come in.." a few times. Russell uses the door metaphorically to explain how hard and painful it is for Rita to get an education now, and also, all the decisions she is going to take, such as leaving Denny. Eventually Frank hangs up the phone as Rita bursts into the room. ...read more.


This shows no determination in his life on behalf of his profession, as he doesn't do his job for the love of teaching others; it's simply for his drinks. It shows that Frank can be selfish and cares more for himself than others around him, even though his job of teaching others his knowledge is much more of a giving career. Frank's office is old; he has been there for a very long time as he's looked at the same painting on the wall for "10 years". Things don't seem to change much for him. The door is broken, stopping him from changing and walking through it. It is broken therefore keeping him in his study and stopping him from breaking free of bad habits like alcoholism and changing his life around. Despite the first scene being only one of the 15 throughout the play, Russell provides us with far more clues to Frank's character than just his superficial habits. It reveals an abundance of detail about the lack of caring for things and his poor sense of determination in life. ...read more.

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