The speech I am going to be examining is from one of Shakespeare's
plays, Richard III. It is the part of the play where George, Duke of
Clarence is explaining a prophetic nightmare he had whilst being
locked in the Tower of London.
Richard III was a real king of England, but had been killed in battle,
around 100 years prior to when Shakespeare wrote this play. At the
time of writing, in 1594, the queen was Elizabeth I, a Tudor. One of
the Queens ancestors, Henry VII, had killed Richard III on Bosworth
Field. Shakespeare, to make sure he was in favour with the Queen, made
Richard's character into a complete villain, as well as physically
The play takes place before Richard becomes king. It is about how
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, plots to eradicate anyone standing in the
way of him becoming king. In order for Richard to come to the throne,
after his brother Edward IV), he must dispose of the three people due
to inherit the throne before him: his brother, George, and his
nephews, Edward and Richard.
To do this, Richard starts a rumour that someone whose name begins
with 'G' will murder Edwards's heirs. Clarence (George) is then
imprisoned in the Tower of London by the King as he is seen as a
threat. Richard promises Clarence that he will go and plead to the
King for him, but instead, he just creates more suspicion. Richard
hears news that King Edward is very ill, and realises he must act
quickly. He plots with two executioners to kill Clarence.
One night, whilst locked in the Tower, Clarence has a nightmare and
describes it to his jailor, Brackenbury. Shak...
... middle of paper ...
...is a placed commonly feared by the guilty minded as they worry that it
actually exists and they may be sent there after death. As Clarence's
dream was all about death, and he had a guilty conscience, it isn't
unexpected that he would worry about hell as religion was important at
this time and it would have been drilled into people about the
consequences of sin.
As I have mentioned previously, Clarence's dream was prophetic, a
prediction, a warning. The next part of the play is the death of
Clarence (off stage). The audience is told that he is drowned in a
butt of Malmsey wine. The dream is a warning the Richard is going to
kill him by drowning. In the dream Clarence pushes him overboard,
killing him, and in the play, Richard has him drowned. This is
Shakespeare's way of telling the unaware audience Clarence's future.
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