How far do you think Educating Rita has a happy conclusion?

Many definitions of comedy claim that at the end of the play a happy conclusion will have emerged. How far do you think Educating Rita has a happy conclusion? Educating Rita is a play by Willie Russell, set in 1983. It is a semi-autobiographical play about Rita, a young working class Liverpool hairdresser who decides wants to gain an education using an Open University. Her tutor is the disillusioned and alcoholic Frank, who teaches at the Open University to pay for his drinking habits. Rita decides she wants to learn everything, even if it means ‘abandoning her originality’.
With Rita’s marriage break down, and Frank’s alcoholism, will either of them ever receive their happy ending? In some ways, I think the Educating Rita does have a happy ending. This is due to many incidents throughout the play which shows Frank and Rita can have a good life and can now move on with it. At the beginning of the play, Rita says that she “wants to learn everything”. By the end of the play, she fulfils this dream as she passes her exams and can now be seen as an “educated woman”.
She can now be herself, a working class hairdresser, yet have an education at the same time, which she didn’t think she could have before, as she thought she was “out of step. ” Furthermore, nearing the end of the play, Frank gives Rita a dress that he bought for her. “Well, it’s er – it’s a dress really”. This is significant as she says that she’s not going to buy a new dress until she has learnt everything and passed her exams. When Frank gives Rita the dress, he says it’s for an “educated woman friend” of his.

Therefore, this could show that the play has a happy conclusion as Rita has done what she wanted to do and, with Franks help, learnt “everything. ” Also, Frank gains self-confidence. This is because Rita convinces him that he is a good teacher. “I came to tell you you’re a good teacher. ” This shows that Frank, although a few hiccups along the way, gained a lot throughout the play. This shows that Educating Rita has a happy ending because Frank finally gets approval and self – confidence. Rita also realises that she has choices.
This is shown when Denny burns her books. “He said either I stop comin’ here an’ get off the pill, or I could get out altogether. ” This shows how serious Rita is about gaining an education, even if it does mean sacrificing her marriage. This shows that Educating Rita does have a happy conclusion as, even though Rita loses a few things, she now knows she has choices. “I’ll make a decision, I’ll chose. ” This shows that Rita knows she doesn’t have to conform to what other people want. Half way through the play, Rita has an identity crisis. “Because I’m a freak.”
Rita thinks she is “out of step” because she doesn’t fit in either working or lower class and she doesn’t know where she should be. This is shown when she doesn’t know whether to go to the pub with her family, or to Franks house for dinner. However, after her roommate Trish tried to commit suicide, Rita realises that being higher class doesn’t mean you’re happy. Also, that she doesn’t have to change to fit in. This shows that Educating Rita can have a happy conclusion as Rita goes back to her usual enthusiastic self and is back to having her own opinions, instead of “empty quotes.”
Even though Frank and Rita have negative experiences throughout the play, Rita cuts franks hair and wishes him good luck, so they depart on good terms. “I’ll take ten years off ya. ” This shows how Educating Rita can have a happy conclusion, even though Rita is back to being a hairdresser, her and Frank can remain friends and they have both learnt a lot from each other. On the other hand, the play could be seen as having an unhappy conclusion. This could be due to how Frank and Rita departed. Firstly, throughout the play, Frank shows signs of having a crush on Rita.
“Why didn’t you walk in here twenty years ago? ” This shows Frank fancies Rita, however Rita never reciprocates these feelings, which could be seen as disappointing as it’s not a normal love story. Educating Rita could also be seen as having an unhappy ending as both Frank and Rita are what they used to be. Frank remains an alcoholic and Rita is back to hairdressing. “If you could stop pouring that junk down your throat. ” Rita thought Frank would stop drinking, however he doesn’t. Therefore, the play could be seen as unhappy because Frank hasn’t got out of his old habits.
In conclution, I think that Educating Rita could been seen to have a happy ending because Frank and Rita both gain something from being together. Although they have their ups and downs throughout the play, they depart on a happy note. Rita learns everything she wants to and fulfils her dreams of being educated whilst Frank rekindles his love for poetry and gets to move on to Australia, as well as his self-confidence. They both have a happy ending and can still be friends, even if Frank was hinting throughout the play that he fancied her. Therefore, I think that Educating Rita has a happy conclusion overall.

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