The Short Lived Success of Richard III Essay

The Short Lived Success of Richard III Essay

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Richard III, by William Shakespeare, is a play based on the amount of power and decisiveness needed to become the king of England. The main character Richard of Gloucester is the brother of the current king. The fact that Richard is evil for no apparent reason troubles readers. Yet overtime, the audience begins to warm up to Richard in part because of his skill with words. Richard's obvious skill of language allows him to successfully manipulate nearly every character in the play. This skill enables him to woo Lady Anne, have Clarence thrown in prison, blame the king for Clarence's death, and achieve Hastings's execution, all without any harm to himself. Although Richard's use of words permits him to manipulate and control those around him, it becomes evident that this is Richard's only defense. When the Princes match wits with Richard, they are quickly executed. The default action of the main character, if unable to manipulate, is to kill.

The skill of Richard's language is clear when he states, "I would to God my heart were flint like Edward's, or Edward's soft and pitiful like mine" (Shakespeare 6). At first glance this quote seems to be just another one of Richard's quick deceitful lines that is told merely to pass suspicion away from him. However, Richard is insinuating that Edward is a cold-hearted ruler who has no compassion for his people. Richard then says that his own heart is weak and pitiful. Richard says this in order for the subjects to see him as a hero and to see Edward as a villain. This cunning move by Richard does not convince Queen Margaret or Queen Elizabeth. Throughout the play Richard makes subtle attempts at manipulating both Elizabeth and Margaret without success, while easily influencing...


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...undeveloped by some because of the irrational and sporadic murderous events that the main character takes part in. Although Richard may seem undeveloped, the contrary is tangible. Richard's ability to manipulate and control those around him is evidence enough of his characters complexity. Not only does he have this skill of language working for him, but his ambitious nature creates opportunities for him to utilize his skill. Shakespeare's uses dreams, throughout the play, to foreshadow the events to come. Richard believes that his nightmare is truthful and that he will pay for his sins, while Clarence was uncertain about his dream and Hastings completely dismissed Stanley's dream. This shows that Richard's mental awareness is higher than that of his brother and nobleman. Although Richard is successful in becoming king of England, his success is short lived.

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