The Opening Speech of Richard III in William Shakespeare's Play Essay example

The Opening Speech of Richard III in William Shakespeare's Play Essay example

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The Opening Speech of Richard III in William Shakespeare's Play


Richard III is a historical play and we are drawn to this factor from
Richard's speech at the opening of the play. Shakespeare uses
Richard's character as his main device for setting the scene. As it is
a play the audience would see Richard entering on a bare stage and
this alone would leave an effect of them which would soon be
reinforced by the speech he is about to give. The speech itself is
delivered in a soliloquy, a device that is well associated with
Shakespeare. It reveals the inner most thoughts of the character,
exposing their true nature and their state of mind.

The first words of his opening speech,

"Now is the winter of our discontent"

This single, very effective line enables the audience in understanding
what the situation is.

We know that England is at peace after the war of the roses that took
place between the York's and the Lancastrians and that King Edward is
currently in reign. But this glorious mood soon changes as we sense a
change in Richard's tone. All is not well as Richard shows the
contempt he holds for his brother, the king as he describes the King's
displeasing attitudes and corrupt behaviour,

"He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,

To the lascivious pleasing of a lute...."

Richard is essentially saying that instead of being a fearful brave
leader, King Edward spends his time indulged in amorous activities.
The power of the language itself emphasises to great lengths the
disgust that Richard holds for his brother. As the speech goes on his
contempt that he holds for the king grows. Richard then changes the
attention ...


... middle of paper ...


... a production, I imagine a deformed middle
aged man who is desperately trying to win over the audience. His
speech is powerful and is a brilliant demonstration of his persuasive
powers. To me he is attempting to coerce the audience into
sympathising with him and to seeing things from his point of view
because there are always two sides to a coin. I don't think that he
actually manages to achieve this but he does mange to stir them up and
have some bias or some understanding into his motive before other
characters are introduced into the play. He does not want us to
convict him but because the speech is a soliloquy what is being
portrayed is what Richard is actually thinking and not what he is
pretending to be. So he is showing his true colours right from the
beginning so that we know Richards demeanour from the outset.

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