Comparison of King Richard III and Looking for Richard

analytical Essay
1514 words
1514 words

Composers throughout various zeitgeists are linked by different representations of universal human concerns, and their texts simultaneously embody certain values and agendas individual to themselves. An exploration of Shakespeare’s King Richard III (1592) and Al Pacino’s Looking for Richard (1996) allows for a greater understanding of the composer’s respective contexts, along with their intended agendas, through the lens of their own societal values and concerns. The manipulation of Richard III’s persona, whether by authorial adaptation of historical sources related to his character, or through the differing views of Richards motives, are universal concepts, that when studied in relation to the differing time periods, accentuates the context and our understanding of recurrent aspects of the human experience.

Shakespeare constructs King Richard III to perform his contextual agenda, or to perpetrate political propaganda in the light of a historical power struggle, mirroring the political concerns of his era through his adaptation and selection of source material. Shakespeare’s influences include Thomas More’s The History of King Richard the Third, both constructing a certain historical perspective of the play. The negative perspective of Richard III’s character is a perpetuation of established Tudor history, where Vergil constructed a history intermixed with Tudor history, and More’s connection to John Morton affected the villainous image of the tyrannous king. This negative image is accentuated through the antithesis of Richards treachery in juxtaposition of Richmond’s devotion, exemplified in the parallelism of ‘God and Saint George! Richmond and victory.’ The need to legitimize Elizabeth’s reign influenced Shakespeare’s portra...

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...ive for Richard’s manipulation in different ways, reflecting the values of their respective zeitgeists, and Looking for Richard emphasizes that there is no fear of divine retribution in the modern context, but the impact of their immoral behavior on their individual identity.

Al Pacino and William Shakespeare both utilized their texts to illustrate cultural agendas and present varying interpretations of the same story. The analysis of this pair of texts served to heighten our understanding of the values and contexts of the texts and the commonalities between them. Whereas Shakespeare’s audience placed great significant value on religion and divine retribution, Pacino’s audience have independence placed on the individual rather than God. Finally, the contextual comparison of the texts furthers our understanding of the values portrayed in two different zeitgeists.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how shakespeare's king richard iii (1592) and al pacino’s looking for richard (1996) allow for a greater understanding of composers' respective contexts and intended agendas through the lens of their own societal values.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare constructs king richard iii to perform his contextual agenda or perpetrate political propaganda in the light of a historical power struggle.
  • Analyzes how pacino's film looking for richard reflects the values of its society as he attempts to create a shakesperean play more accessible to the twentieth century audience.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare portrays richard's supreme oratory skill and aptitude for manipulating others, demonstrating the political and moral values of the play’s elizabethan era.
  • Analyzes how pacino portrays richard iii's manipulation of his image, highlighting disparate values and concerns of the contemporary era in comparison to the elizabethan age.
  • Compares al pacino and william shakespeare's texts to illustrate cultural agendas and present varying interpretations of the same story.
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