“The comedy in Educating Rita is created by the clash of cultures.” ‘Educating Rita’ is a play in which the two main characters, Rita and Frank, are brought together in the world of literature and learning to provide Rita with an education and also shows how a comedy can form a clash of cultures. Russell uses humour as a tool to engage and entertain his audience whilst at the same time dealing with serious topics such as the clash of cultures and its effects when the two characters are brought together. The clash of cultures between Rita and frank serves to show the divide that appears between the upper and lower class and how that provides comedy from Rita’s experience with Frank’s academic world.
One example of a clash of cultures between Rita and Frank is in act one scene one, where frank and Rita first meet. Frank greets Rita by saying “you are” and Rita reply’s by saying “I am what?” Russell uses this defective exchange to highlight the difference between the educated upper class language used and the dialect of the lower classes by showing that Rita does not understand the meaning of Franks greeting. The effect of the exchange enlightens the reader on how the stereotypically middle class person can only see part or meaning behind the words of the more intellectual speaker and the whole picture. This misunderstanding by Rita is an example cringe comedy by the fact that her downfall or misunderstanding leads to a comedic affect that entertains the reader while also showing the more serious issue of the culture clash.