The Portrayal of Comedy through the Character of Rita in Willy Russell's, Educating Rita

Topics: Working class, Middle class, Social class Pages: 4 (1239 words) Published: October 5, 2010
How has Willy Russell made the character of Rita comical?

The play ‘Educating Rita’ was written by Willy Russell in the late 1970’s during a time of great social change. Willy Russell’s life was just like the character of Rita in the play making it autobiographical. He was born in Whiston which is just outside Liverpool. He was a hairdresser before he went back to college to pass his O level English Literature. ‘Educating Rita’ is a play about a 26 year old called Rita who goes back to university as a hairdresser. There is a clear class distinction between Frank and Rita; and from the play we can see that Frank is from a higher class background than Rita’s. This all changes when Rita goes back to education that shows the audience that she wants to be in another class that she’s already in.

The audience would expect to see a typical university student who is intelligent and has a posh accent. She pushes the stiff door after Frank says ‘Come in’ constantly. The next session she comes to oil the door before walking through the door. Here you can tell that she has the time to do this as she is working class, other than the people who can afford to have it fixed for them. “How d’y work it out if y’ don’t know?”

In this sentence, the slang tells us all about her. This doesn’t just mean that she is poorly educated, but it involves with her class and background as well so that she presents herself as being honest in her limitations of education. It shows that Rita is pushing her way into a new life, so she doesn’t know what education is like. The door is a metaphorical barrier as she breaks through into a new life.

It is comical to see Rita on stage because she is working class - People who are social class are usually at university as they carry on there education and don’t have to work full time due to economic advantage. Also Rita has a Liverpudlian accent. Rita’s explicit language is funny and Frank teases her about it; and this is the reason why it is...
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