Similarities in Main Characters of Shakespeare´s Richard the Third and Macbeth

Similarities in Main Characters of Shakespeare´s Richard the Third and Macbeth

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William Shakespeare’s Richard III and Macbeth, one a historical play, and the other a tragedy respectfully, are two of Shakespeare’s plays that embody several similarities. The most evident similarities in the two plays are the number of shared characteristics between the two main characters for which the plays are named, Richard of Gloucester (Richard III), and Macbeth. Both men are soldiers, attain the throne through a series of murders, and are eventually slain by their nemesis in a battle at the end of the play that restores power to that of a strong, humble, and virtuous leader, as opposed to a tyrannical one (Manning-Smith 1003). Although Shakespeare’s suggested opinion about how the kingship should be performed is not explicitly stated in Richard III or Macbeth, I will further analyze the aforementioned similarities between the two characters and argue that the qualities of an exceptional leader in the eyes of Shakespeare include: humility, strength, and virtuous.
Firstly, let us analyze the similarities between the two characters’ rise to power. Richard III, the younger brother of the current King, Edward IV, resents his brother’s political power and his admired societal recognition. This bitterness is what drives Richard to do whatever is necessary to attain the throne, later equating to a series of malicious murders. Richard III is also interesting because of the fact that he was born with a deformity. As a consequence, he has always been in the shadow of his family and desires the power and limelight.
“Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them—
Why, I, in this weak, piping time of peace,
Have no...

... middle of paper ... of whom Shakespeare might find to be an exceptional leader.
Richard III and Macbeth are comparable in many ways. The two play’s plots, especially the rise and fall of the two tyrants, as well as the two’s shared set of characteristics provide us with a great opportunity to analyze the lessons Shakespeare envisioned for an exceptional leader. I believe the overall lesson to be learned from each play is that you shouldn’t let your ambition control your fate, and when authority has already been established in a proper manner, actions done to dethrone with foul intent will lead to dire consequences. Despite the fact that Shakespeare does not explicitly offer his view of an exceptional leader in the texts, an analysis comparing the two character’s similarities offer helpful insight to his audience in unveiling his implication of how the kingship should be performed.

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