At the very outset of the play, readers are presented with the power-hungry, self-loathing Duke of Gloucester, defined by his thirst for vengeance and power and by his uncanny ability to manipulate the minds of the people around him. Richard appeals to the audience’s sympathies in his self-deprecating description, when he declares that he is deformed, unfinished, and so hideous and unfashionable that dogs bark at him as he passes by. The imagery he utilizes throughout the opening soliloquy also evokes a feeling of opposition and juxtaposition which speaks to the duality of his nature.The juxtapositions he employs are more than rhetorical devices, as ...
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...is character and with the crumbling of a façade built up to deceive.
Perhaps these two soliloquies serve as parenthetical representations, encompassing the scope of the real Richard. The real Richard is evident at the conclusion of the play, simply masked by the Richard who had the quest before him to become the self he yearned to be, self respected and revered by all. This realization can be achieved through the analysis of the various rhetorical and dramatic elements especially prevalent in the words themselves within the initial and concluding soliloquies delivered by Richard as well as from the analysis of the context of the events occurring at the time the asides were delivered.
Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York. Riverhead Books, 1998.
Shakespeare, William. Richard III. New York. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2009.
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