Essay PreviewMore ↓
The Last Act of Richard III
In Shakespeare's play Richard III, the main character Richard is developed as an actor - to the degree of morbidity. Richard is forever putting on an act, and playing the part that he thinks will most please whomever he shares the stage with at a given moment. Not that to please is his ultimate goal, it is just a means to get what he wants--which is the tempting role of the king. His acts are from the start plentiful, and for some time almost surprisingly effective. To Clarence he plays the Loving and Concerned Brother. His counterfeit fools Clarence into a state of trust that is stunning to the spectator, who knows that the events which make Richard exclaim "We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe!" (I.i.70) are in fact Richard's own doing.
Alone with his audience, Richard plays the part of the Self-confident Villain. The audience serves a function not unlike that of a mirror, only it mirrors character traits rather than looks. He introduces himself as the actor who cannot play the role of lover (i.e. be good) satisfactorily, so he chooses to play the villain (i.e. be bad) instead. The notion that this is a choice, as well as his use of the word play rather than be, underline the fact that to him this is all acting. In front of the audience--his mirror and thus a second self--Richard toys around with the conviction that he can do anything he sets his mind to through the means of his acting abilities. He leaves his audience speechless by going through with the overly ambitious task he sets up. He tells us that he will marry Warwick's youngest daughter, and the next thing you know, he has pulled it off. Whether Anne falls for Richard's sex appeal or his rhetoric is moot, yet she does fall. Richard himself seems credulous at her giving in so easily; "Was ever woman in this humour woo'd? / Was ever woman in this humour won?" (I.ii.232-233) He talks as if it were a sign that his repulsiveness must in some way appear attractive to her, although the way he expresses this makes me doubt his seriousness. Perhaps this is an attempt at sharing a joke with his audience, his feeling being that as it cannot possibly be his looks she has fallen for, it must be his words.
How to Cite this Page
"Free College Essays - The Last Act of Richard III." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Jul 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... Nixon decided because of his previous victories in the political standpoint to run for senate. He won the election over Helen Douglas in 1950 to take the senate seat. Douglas first called Nixon “Tricky dick”. As senator Nixon gave speeches about global communism and talked about how he didn’t like the way president Truman was handling the Korean War. Later because of the way Nixon was handling himself Eisenhower selected Nixon to be his run mate in Chicago on July 11, 1952. After the selection of Nixon in about 2 months there were rumors of Nixon having a secret cash fund for personal expenses.... [tags: US president, watergate tapes]
1191 words (3.4 pages)
- Richard Milhous Nixon was born into a poor family on January 9, 1913, from Francis Anthony Nixon and Hannah Milhous Nixon. They lived in Yorba Linda, California where Nixon’s father built the house. Nixon had five brothers and two of them, Harold and Arthur, died at an early age. After the failure of the Nixon’s family ranch, they moved to Whittier, California where his father, Francis Anthony, opened a combination grocery store and a gas station. Nixon had a troubled childhood, and possibly his rough childhood could have shaped Nixon’s personality.... [tags: biography, vietnam war, labor union]
987 words (2.8 pages)
- Richard P. Feynman Early Life Richard was born on May 11th, 1918 in New York City, the first son of Melville and Lucille Feynman. He enjoyed science and mathematics from a early age, most of which he took it upon himself to learn before it was taught in school. His primary source for self-learning was the Encyclopedia Britannica and a lab that he set up in his room at home. In this lab he dabbled in electronics, whether it was repairing the radio or just making some circuits. In high school, Feynman was ahead in physics and mathematics, already a master of differential equations, trigonometry, and other high levels of calculus, but he was lacking in his other subjects, such as English and... [tags: Physics Biography Biographies]
613 words (1.8 pages)
- It’s Monday morning, another weekend over, a new week full of decisions and obstacles for President Obama. A slowly growing economy, tensions with North Korea and soldiers still in Afghanistan and Iraq the President is always quite busy. Even though the President has lots of ad-visors to help him make decision's some advice that would really aid the president is the lesson that “Think before you act, be sure not to overreact” Some examples from the Cold War era that support this lesson are The Cuban Missile Crisis, The My Lai Massacre (involving napalm and agent orange) and the incident at Kent State.... [tags: american foreign policy]
1011 words (2.9 pages)
- The Banking Concept of Education and The Achievement of Desire Education is a topic that can be explored in many ways. Education is looked at in depth by both Richard Rodriguez in his essay, “The Achievement of Desire”, and by Paulo Freire in his essay, “The ‘Banking’ Concept of Education.” After reading both essays, one can make some assumptions about different methods of education and exactly by which method Rodriguez was taught. The types of relationships Rodriguez had with his teachers, family and in life were affected by specific styles of education.... [tags: Richard Rodriguez Paulo Freire Papers]
1470 words (4.2 pages)
- Until this past spring I hadn't thought much about what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go for college. One day in the spring the junior class had a meeting in the auditorium about taking our ACT test and college plans. After that meeting I realized I needed a change, getting into college wasn't going to be a breeze, kind of how I had treated high school. Although I always considered myself to be fairly smart, I never had put much effort into school, but after seeing the facts and requirements to get into schools, and especially after hearing Ms.... [tags: Standardized Testing, College Admission Test]
799 words (2.3 pages)
- The real tragedy of Richard III lies in the progressive isolation of its protagonist. From the very opening of the play when Richard III enters "solus", the protagonist's isolation is made clear. Richard's isolation progresses as he separates himself from the other characters and breaks the natural bonds between Man and nature through his efforts to gain power. The first scene of the play begins with a soliloquy, which emphasizes Richard's physical isolation as he appears alone as he speaks to the audience.... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
1206 words (3.4 pages)
- Search for Identity in Richard II Shakespeare's Richard II tells the story of Richard's fall from power. Being dethroned by Bolingbroke forces Richard to confront the limitations and nature of his power as king. As audience members, we follow Richard on his journey of self-discovery, which enlightens him even as his life is shattered by Bolingbroke's revolt. Paradoxically, it is in utter defeat that Richard comes closest to understanding what it is to be human. Unfortunately he is unable to accept life as an ordinary subject after having tasted what it means to rule.... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
1655 words (4.7 pages)
- Sun Imagery in Shakespeare's Richard III Shakespeare's Richard III is a play pervasive in figurative language, one of the most notable being the symbolic image of the sun and the shadow it casts. In an examination of a short passage from the text, it will be argued that Richard is compared to a shadow in relation to the sun, which has traditionally been held as a symbol of the king. The passage is significant not only because it speaks volumes about the plots of Richard, but also because it is relevant in understanding the overall plot of the play, which in the first few acts is almost indistinguishable from the plot of the scheming Duke of Gloucester.... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
609 words (1.7 pages)
- Narcissism and Metadrama in Richard II Over the last thirty years, Shakespeare criticism has demonstrated a growing awareness of the self-reflexive or metadramatic elements in his works. Lionel Abel’s 1963 study, Metatheatre: A New View of Dramatic Form, provided perhaps the first significant analysis of the ways in which Shakespeare thematizes theatricality, in the broadest sense of the term, in his tragedies, comedies, and histories. In his discussion of Hamlet, he makes the observation—perhaps a bit commonplace and obvious to us thirty years later—that the famous “play within a play” is only the most blatant example of self-conscious technique found throughout the tragedy: once w... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
2813 words (8 pages)
At times Richard's acting is so overdone that it can hardly be called good acting, and you have to wonder how anyone could possibly fall for it. The scene, for example, where he is "persuaded" to accept the throne (III.vii.55-246) is so overloaded that it becomes downright hilarious. Yet it gets him what he wants, and when his position starts to cave in it is not due to any faults in his acting, rather that his ill deeds are so many and so obvious that they can no longer be concealed simply by an act, no matter how good that act may be. Richard himself does not seem to recognize this. In his wooing of Elizabeth for her daughter's hand he does not realize that her unresponsiveness is not due to any lack of rhetorical skill on his part, but to her unconquerable dislike of him due to his actions. His words may still be convincing, but he has been proven false just slightly too often in the past.
The other problem Richard struggles with is that in spite of his belief in his own abilities as an actor, by the beginning of the fifth act his act for the benefit of the audience/himself has fallen to pieces. He quits his asides somewhere in act IV (I think after scene iii). At this point, though he has some victories to celebrate--the getting of the throne not the least one--he has also suffered some setbacks. His main confidante Buckingham has proven too weak for his liking and the threat represented by Richmond is just starting to really bother him. So far each aside has given him a boost of confidence, and the loss of them, though mainly due to a loss of confidence, only further diminishes his self esteem. The loss of this role also repesents a serious personality problem. If Richard can no longer convince himself by acting the self-confident villain, he must loose his sense of having a coherent identity. From now on he has only his habitual acts depending on his partner in dialogue to fall back on, and though he manages for a while longer, it soon becomes pretty clear that he cannot go on for long. And so he dies--which will make do for a natural conclusion.