Providentialism In King Richard III

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The content and construction of texts are inexorably influenced by the plethora of social, cultural, and historical factors relative to a composer’s context. Context thus becomes the principle medium for deciphering the complex and often didactic meanings within texts. Through the comparative study of Shakespeare’s historical tragedy King Richard III and Al Pacino’s postmodern docudrama Looking For Richard, both texts explore the various connections explored through the protagonist Richard with respective societal influence affecting their portrayal. Shakespeare’s text strongly conveys a sense of providentialism which was influential by the Tudor monarchy whilst Al Pacino thorough the implement of modern day media portrays these influences to a secular, postmodern audience. The undeniable pursuit for power is Richard’s flaw as a Vice character. This aspect is demonstrated in Shakespeare’s play King Richard III through the actions Richard portrays in an attempt to take the throne, allowing the audience to perceive this as an abhorrent transgression against the divine order. The deformity of Richards arm and back also symbolically imply a sense of villainy through Shakespeare’s context. In one of Richard’s soliloquies, he states how ‘thus like the formal Vice Iniquity/ I moralize two meanings in one word’. Through the use of immoral jargons, Shakespeare emphasises Richard’s tenacity to attain a sense of power. However, Richard’s personal struggle with power causes him to become paranoid and demanding, as demonstrated through the use of modality ‘I wish’ in ‘I wish the bastards dead’. This act thus becomes heavily discordant to the accepted great chain of being and conveys Richard’s consumption by power. Pacino similarly portrays Ri... ... middle of paper ... ...n day context. Pacino ideally portrays Margret as a ‘sort of ghost of the past’, which is established through the use of quick cut edits in the docudrama , turbulent facial expressions and frantic camera movements to enhance the insanity that she is portrayed to have in Richard III. This therefore demonstrates the lack of importance of determinism, due to the differing contexts between texts, which affect their portrayal. Therefore, through the comparative study of Shakespeare’s historical tragedy King Richard III and Al Pacino’s postmodern docudrama Looking For Richard, it can be clearly demonstrated how the distinctive contexts between both composers inevitably affect their portrayal of ideas. In Pacino’s docudrama ‘Looking For Richard’, not only has he ‘found Richard’ but has also redefined his character portrayal of Richard for his post-modern secular audience.

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