Essay about Richard, The Duke Of Gloucester, By William Shakespeare

Essay about Richard, The Duke Of Gloucester, By William Shakespeare

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Hidden in the shadows, flitting from window to wall to door and beyond, monsters creep into the world and turn it inside-out and upside-down. As can be seen in Richard III by William Shakespeare, the monster exists as a corporeal and analytical creature that has a tendency to hide from the general population. Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, is arguably the most prominent and alluring monster in the book. Despite his deformities—the bent spine, unbalanced shuffle, and shrunken arm—Richard manages to overcome his perceived bodily hindrances by using his mind to play different roles. This suggests that it might not be an unfinished body that makes him monstrous, but rather a duplicitous mind. Richard’s case clarifies the common notion that monsters avoid appearing in light and take refuge outside of reality because they lose their scariness. Thus, I would argue that monsters generally lack a true identity until they appear in the shadows, pretending to be someone they are not. In other words, monsters hide in the shadows because the shadows give them identity while light leaves them both exposed and harmless.
Even though Richard may look like a monster, his physical appearance has little to do with his monstrosity. In actuality, his mind overpowers his self. Because he firmly holds on to the belief that he “cannot prove a lover” without offering any proof that he really is incapable of wooing “a wanton ambling nymph,” Richard chooses “to prove a villain” (Shakespeare 6). His mind constantly rejects optimism and instead thrusts him back into the darkness where he can protect himself from disappointment. By doing so, Richard’s body becomes a canvas upon which his mind can paint any identity. Richard plays the concerned, supportive b...

... middle of paper ... thus far. He is now closer to being king than ever before and he attributes this entirely to his ingenuity.
Unfortunately, Richard must ultimately bear the consequences of this ingenuity. In lieu of having the ability to employ multiple personalities, Richard must part with his true identity. This makes him vulnerable to the horror supplied by his own mind and makes him subject to its will whereas before he was perhaps complicit. Buckingham, Richard’s closest accomplice, senses his internal strife and “look[s] into…[him] with considerate eyes” (107). It can be argued that of all characters, Buckingham has the greatest awareness of Richard’s true identity, and so when he exhibits sympathy toward Richard, who wants Edward dead despite having achieved his goal of becoming king, it is made clear that the latter has been lost to the darkness and his own monstrosity.

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