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How Richard III's Battle speech is presented in the film adaptations of Olivier and Al Pacino.

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Introduction

Question a) Examine the literary elements such as diction, symbolism, rhythm, and tone in this extract, and analyze their significance. b) Then, examine how this extract is translated onto film, paying close attention to the ways in which the film adaptations by Laurence Olivier and Al Pacino enhance/ modify your understanding of the play text. Answer a) The extract passage from Shakespeare's Richard III depicts how King Richard gives his battle speech to his army, focusing on the raggedness of Richmond's army and their opposition to him as a King. The extract passage is right after King Richard had a dream where the ghosts of all the people he had killed spoke and condemns him. I will be analyzing extract passage from the play, commenting on theme, settings, diction, symbolism, rhythm and tone. In part (b), I will be analyzing the film adaptations of Olivier and Al Pacino on this particular extract, commenting on how each director interpret the extract passage, particularly on the Mise-en-scene of each film adaptation. As Richard was giving his oration to the army, there is structural irony in his speech. It is an irony that he tells his army "they having lands, and blest with beauteous wives", Richmond's army will "restrain the one, distain the other" because in the first place, Richard and the other Yorkists were the ones who killed Henry IV and overthrew the Lancasters who were ruling then. ...read more.

Middle

Lie with our wives?". Questions can engage the viewers, making the viewers enter his thinking. The lines are also kept within ten syllabus and the words are short so that it will produce a more punchy effect as it is being read out. The short words and rhythmic tone in turns make the diction of the extract clear too. b) In Pacino's film adaptation of extract passage of Richard III, Richard was filmed giving the oration to his army. When examining the cinematic space of the film, the camera shot from a very low angle as Richard was giving the oration. Richard is in the foreground and this makes him look very much bigger. Since it is shot from a low angle up to Richard, Richard seems to be looking down on everyone as he is speaking, emphasizing his power and authority. His oration is quite long and this emphasizes the power of language in achieving political powers, which is one of the central themes to Richard III. Language may not always be a necessary instrument of power, but for Richard, it is a crucial weapon. His extraordinary skill with words enables him to manipulate, confuse, and control those around him. In this case, Pacino is trying to show us that Richard's words are powerful and he uses them to control his army. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Olivier's film adaptation of the extract passage Richard III, Richard was not filmed giving the long oration to his army. Instead, the viewers were treated to a battle to watch. The film adaptation was very much close to Shakespeare's play. Olivier spoke with rhythm as Richard addresses his army. As he spoke "March on", the army shouted a hail as a reply. After he spoke the rhyming couplet: pell-mell and to hell, he leads his army forward on his horse. It was dramatic as he was about to go to the battle. The film was in technicolour and this probably appeals to the viewers at that time. With the technicolour used, the viewers were able to see vividly the colour of their medieval costumes and this makes the whole film real and engaging. The scene of the film was a long shot. There was not much editing done. Spatially, it was shot from afar so that both the army and Richard can be seen. There was not much close up shot except for when Richard has fallen off the horse and his crown rolled away. This foreshadows Richard's dethroning. In conclusion, the literary elements such as rhythm, diction, tone, settings, symbolism and themes compliments each other, making Shakespeare's play a classic read all time. Both Pacino's and Olivier's film adaptation of Richard III provides viewers with different interpretation of the play, widening the viewers perspective of the play. ...read more.

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