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Comparing Evil in The Elephant Man, Romeo and Juliet, and Let the Circle Be Unbroken

Comparing the Evil Exposed in Christine Sparks’ The Elephant Man, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and Mildred Taylor’s Let the Circle Be Unbroken

“Evil is the underlying element in the life of a living creature.” This quotation, by Ray V. Sjorvek, expresses the idea that all living creatures contain a certain degree of evil inside themselves. In literature, protagonists usually express their sinister sides through words or actions when trying to prove the point that one’s hidden emotions cannot be concealed. Authors generally write about evil causing the downfall of society. In many cases, authors speak of hatred persuading people to aid in the corrosion of civilization. Christine Sparks’ famous novel, The Elephant Man, William Shakespeare’s play, “Romeo and Juliet”, and Mildred Taylor’s novel, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, all convey the idea that hatred, which develops out of the evil within man’s heart, can only lead to destruction.

In Christine Sparks’ novel, The Elephant Man, many of the characters express hatred towards a character referred to as the Elephant Man. One of the first characters introduced in the play is Mr. Bytes, the keeper of John Merrick (the “Elephant Man”). Bytes continually beats Merrick like he would an animal and he uses Merrick to gain money by performing at “freak shows”. Because of his appearance, society views Merrick as an outcast. Furthermore, Bytes expresses his frustration towards Merrick by beating up the “Elephant Man”. Another character in the novel named Dr. Treves is a kind, compassionate man. However, when he first meets Merrick, he chooses not to associate with John because of his outward appearance and apparent lack of intelligence. Lastly, we meet Jim Renshaw …

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…judice towards blacks and other minorities was nothing odd during the 1930’s. The protagonist of the story, Cassie, first experiences an example of racial tension when she notices a drinking fountain and cannot drink from it because it is “White Only”. Another example of prejudice occurs when Suzella, who looks white but is actually half white and half black, gets attention from many white boys. However, when the boys find out that Suzella is partially black, they stay away from her. Lastly, society’s hatred towards blacks displays itself when a young boy named T.J. Avery is falsely accused of robbing a store. T.J.’s imminent conviction shows us that the judicial system, the one thing that should defend people’s rights can be warped according to the way society wants it to be it to be. Therefore, we can conclude that prejudice is yet another manifestation of hatred.

Educating Rita – Comparing the Movie and Play

Educating Rita – Comparing the Movie and Play

The play Educating Rita by Willy Russell gained great popularity especially during the early eighties. There has also been a movie made from it starring Julie Walters and the more famous Michael Caine. As so often the case, the movie was more elaborate with additional scenes, some of which were spoken of or retold by the actors in the play. The movie also included several actors while the play only featured two, Frank and Rita.

After having read the play and seen the movie I am struck by a number of differences. Seemingly subtle, many small details have a great impact on how the story can and is being perceived. The movie offers much more background information on other characters and events that are important to the story.

‘The Screenwriter’s Bible’ by David Trottier offers a good insight in script writing and story structure. It deals with the basic elements of a typical screenplay, and explains what it actually is that an audience craves. Many of the principles can and should be applied to any story whether a screenplay, theatric play, novel or short story.

The play is much more predictable in the sense that a great many things are bound not to happen on stage. In fact nothing taking place outside Frank’s office can be seen by the audience. All action is inevitably confined within these four walls. When Frank invites …

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…ion of the story and the characters.

You may prefer the play or the movie Educating Rita or plays before movies in general, or vice versa. Fact remains that there are several details and little bits of information, important to the story that are in the movie but are missing in the play.


Primary source:

Russell, Willy. Educating Rita. London: Suzy Graham-Adriani Longman Literature 1991

Secondary sources:

Educating Rita (The movie) Directed by Lewis Gilbert, Screenplay by Willy Russel, Columbia Pictures 1983

Trottier, David. The screenwriters bible: a complete guide to writing, formatting, and selling your script. Silman-James Press 1995

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