Essay on How Has Willy Russell Made the Character of Rita Comical?

1254 Words Oct 15th, 2010 6 Pages
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
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Don’t you recognise a compliment?”
It is funny because she tries to give Frank a compliment by swearing and using describing words like ‘crazy’ and ‘mad’.

In act 1, Rita’s character is depicted as comical; she is a bright, bold, bubbly character as the two characters are introduced. She makes a very dramatic entrance bursting through the door swearing and this immediately draws attention to her. She isn’t sure how to act; her insecurity and nerves make her appear in such a loud brash manner. This is further illustrated in how she doesn’t understand formal interview situations; as you would expect her to be shy, polite and formal yet she acts cheekily and informally. For example, when she asks Frank if she can smoke but she pulls her cigarettes out before he has chance to answer.
“What am I?”
This highlights that she is confused with Frank’s formal manner of speaking, showing her naivety. Although she appears very confident, she is immediately quiet and lacks self esteemed when faced with something that she feels that she cannot succeed in.

Her working class background shows that Rita doesn’t understand how to speak in this initial formal interview situation, frequently swearing as it is part of her normal vocabulary, hardly noticing that she is doing it. Her vocabulary is fairly limited and basic and this means that she finds subject at the start of the play. The topics that she mentions show a lot about her personality; she frequently refers to

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