How far would you agree that Educating Rita depicts a clash of classes and cultures?

1363 words 6 pages
Within Educating Rita it could be argued that Russell is trying to depict an aspect of conflict within class and culture in the UK- the play itself being in the context of the country during the 1980’s where the rise of Thatcherism grasped many industrialised areas of Britain, thus Russell attempts to depict the importance of education with in this era to those who wanted to escape from the lower end of the social scale. This directly affects one of the two characters in the play, Rita. Who- due to a working-class background- feels held back in life; bringing us to the rising action within the play.
Willy Russell begins to create an image of Rita in Act I Scene 1, as a woman who has wasted her life on simply living the social normalities
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And that’s why I’m staying.’
This then brings the play to a complication. In Act 1 Scene 7 Rita decides to stick with the open-university course and her husband feels they should no longer be together due to the fact that he believes Rita is changing. Almost becoming something that she isn’t, his working class ideals clash with all that Rita is learning to become and this could possibly resemble the transition stage that Rita has reached, Russell does so through an aspect of hyperbole;
‘But he said it warped me. He said I betrayed him. I suppose I have.’
Despite all of her want to change, the fact that she is well along the road to discovering herself; she still doesn’t want to clash with her husband. Bringing us back to the question is Russell simply trying to portray the clashes of class and culture; and in this aspect it can be argued that he is.
Another way in which Russell uses language effectively to portray the clashes of class and culture between Frank and Rita is through dramatic irony- this is seen in the later stages of the play especially during Act 2 scene 5 where Rita develops a more cultured and well rounded personality yet Frank begins to clash with the ‘new’ Rita;
‘She wrote a little gothic number called Frankenstein.’
This literary allusion from Frank is used by Russell to create an image of hostility between the two main protagonists. Rita becomes what would appear to the audience as a well educated woman; what