Educating Rita is a play which was considered at first inappropriate and was condemned by many people; however over time people began to understand the importance of the play and it was named the best comedy of the year in 1980. Now it is a good literary base for many students studying English. Although as the title of my essay suggest this play is a comedy I do not believe that is where it ends. There are many interweaving story lines which have relevance which cannot be considered as comical but more inspirational.
One of these issues is the relationship between Frank and Rita: Teacher and student. At the beginning of the play Frank appears bemused as Rita Is his first open university student. Her constant swearing leaves her saying that “I didn’t, I was just testin’ y'”. It needs to be known that at the beginning of the play both Frank and Rita have partners although it is apparent that Frank isn’t happy with his relationship as right at the beginning we hear the conversation with his partner: “I distintly remember saying that I would be late… es yes, I will probably shall go to the pub afterwards”.
He is getting pressure from her although Rita someone fresh and new gives him “a breath of fresh air”. These parts cannot be considered comedy but more as a commen situation that can be found anywhere but is being shown in such a way here that we can find ourselves relating to it. The Bond between Rita and Frank increases throughout the play and she becomes increasing more educated. This is appealing to the audience as the building atmosphere is interesting and gives a great example of how some things should be in life.
Rita however is having problems as Denny her husbands becomes more angry because she wishes to study rather than have a baby which is what her group of people think that she is ‘supposed’ to do. This is gives us another outlook. Someone trying to better their life but yet upsetting her family in the process is a very serious matter and one that we can see all around us today. Some people believe in that fact that woman should just stay home, be the house wife and mother the children.
However this is not the case for many woman today as most would like a career of some sort. At the time this play was written it wasn’t quite as acceptable to do this however so Rita did have quite a fight on her hands, which made her situation increasingly difficult. The most important non-comical element in the play is I feel is Frank’s dependency on alcohol. Throughout the play even at the beginning: “yes I will probably shall go the pub”, “Now there’s a question. Will you have another drink? ” By this time this is the third class of scotch.
Frank uses his alcohol as a way to escape from the students, to be able to cope with his situation. However, as the time goes on the worse he gets. This is because he becomes so dependant on it that he has to drink more and more for it actually to take an effect. This is not a comical issue at all even though at certain times it comes across that way in the play. It merely comes across that way sometimes to try and lighten up. However it needs to known that it is put in the play to hold the role of showing people what can happen when you rely on alcohol.
He lost his partner, his job and also Rita refused to be taught when he was under the influence as she felt she would no longer get proper teaching. You can put this situation anywhere, into family life or even into a teacher you already know. I think many people will have a glass of wine or two to make themselves feel better occasionally, its just a matter of some people knowing where the line is and some people never actually finding out until its too late, things have already been lost.
In conclusion, although there are many comical elements throughout this play which can make the audience laugh I do think its important to remember that there are also elements that with deeper thought are much more meaningful and actually can give you a slightly different outlook on life. This play is inspirational and I’m sure that its popularity will live on for a very long time as the issues are still relevant for many people.