Educating Rita Is Considered to Be a Dramatic Comedy, to What Extent Can It Be Considered a Tragedy?

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Rita is a working class hairdresser from Liverpool who applies for a place on an Open University course; Frank is a middle class university lecturer who also happens to be an alcoholic. Rita’s motivation is to create better opportunities for her self. Throughout the play, Frank and Rita almost make a role reversal, with Rita becoming almost middle class in her views and educated, and Frank losing his position at the university. Both characters have fatal flaws which ultimately cause their downfall. Rita is the protagonist of the play; being the first character, the audience will like her, she will gain the audience’s attention with her comedic lines and her humorous ways of acting around Frank. From the first moment Rita bursts through Frank’s office door the audience will recognise her as a ‘comic hero’. The way she bursts through and talks to Frank unprofessionally, even though she’s in a formal interview also makes the audience laugh at the character. Not only is it her actions that make her a comic hero but her way she describes and talks about certain words and phrases and the way her class contradicts with Frank. At the beginning of the play Rita and Frank often have confusion over what they’re saying to each other. Frank: do you know Yeats? Rita: the wine lodge? Frank: Yeats the poet. Rita: No. And also over Franks name- Frank: Frank Rita: Oh not after Frank Harris? Frank: Not after frank anyone Rita: Maybe your parents named y’ after the quality Throughout the first scene there are plenty of cultural hiccups to make the audience laugh and they seem to portray Rita as a comic hero, but just as there are many aspects that make her a comic hero there are also aspects that make her a tragic hero too. Rita’s in a loveless relationship with a man who just wants her to have children and be a house wife, boring hairdressing job and she’s not
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