Glorifying the Tudor Dynasty: Shakespeare's Richard III and the Perfect Villain

Glorifying the Tudor Dynasty: Shakespeare's Richard III and the Perfect Villain

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Arts in England flourished and prospered during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Furthermore, “The Golden Age” was characterized by the Queen’s patronizing of theatre, which lead it to gain popularity among England. The sixteenth and early seventeenth century witnessed a period of English nationalism, evidently shown through diffused texts in the English language, rather than in Latin. Additionally, the Queen supported playwrights such as William Shakespeare, which lead to depictions of Elizabethan society in his plays. Consequently, influences from London and the royal family influenced plays such as Richard III. Specifically, the play affected the glorification of the Tudors, leading to the villanization of former king Richard III. This paper discusses and argues the effects of Elizabethan England on the plot, villain, and gender roles- all leading to the glorification of the Tudor dynasty.
Firstly, Niccollo Machiavelli’s influences on England during the Elizabethan Era transmit in the plot of the play. Machiavelli, an Italian politician, published Il Principe, which established guidelines on how a prince could get and secure his power. Machiavellian ideas diffused among the political elite of England during Elizabeth’s reign (“The Influence of Machiavelli on Shakespeare”). Consequently, Shakespeare adapted these influences to produce the character of King Richard III. The principal influence of Machiavelli on Shakespeare’s version of Richard is the Machiavellian concept of “the ends justify the means” (“The Influence of Machiavelli on Shakespeare”).
When Richard outlines his plans that will lead him to the throne of the kingdom, Shakespeare shows the influence of this concept because he shows willingness to do anything in ord...

... middle of paper ...

... plot, the characters, and the overall conflicts. Culturally London is present in the events and characters of the play, since Shakespeare manages to take influences from historians and his patron to target a historical figure. Finally, while embedding historical events in his plot, Shakespeare manages to legitimize the rule of the reining dynasty.

Works Cited
Mclean, Ralph. “The Influence of Machiavelli On Shakespeare.” Britain In Print, n.d.
Web. 6 Apr. 2014
Preis, Dorothea. “Richard III Society of NSW.” Richard III Society of NSW RSS. HSC History Extension, 7 Nov. 2012. Web. 6 Apr. 2014
Shakespeare, William. Richard III. Cambridge: U, 1954. Print.
Shapiro, Susan. “Feminism in Elizabethan England.” History Today. History Today, n.d.
Web. 6 Apr. 2014
“The Richard III Society.” Richard III Society of NSW RSS. HRH. The Duke of Clougester, n.d Web. 07 Apr. 2014

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