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In his opening soliloquy, the true nature of Richards character is revealed, his villainy being divulged in the devious plans that he has plotted in order to usurp the throne.

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Introduction

In his opening soliloquy, the true nature of Richard's character is revealed, his villainy being divulged in the devious plans that he has plotted in order to usurp the throne. An array of puns, metaphors, and antitheses are used with ironic flair to convey the undertones in his monologue, granting the audience valuable insight to the play. The language that is used masterfully conveys the sarcasm in Richards's words, this being seen in the antithesis of 'winter' and 'summer' in the first two lines. The contrasting metaphors in these lines are seemingly used as a tool to relay the contrary meanings in his words, suggesting that what he speaks is not what he thinks. This hence serves as a hint to the fact that he is not entirely happy about the victory of the 'son of York'- a pun for the house of York, as it was followed by the crowning of his brother. Also, it is evident that Richard is not agreeable to changes in his life, this being exemplified in another antithesis seen in "stern alarums changed to merry meetings" (1.1.7). In fact, he explicitly speaks of this unhappiness in the line where he states that in "this weak piping time of peace", he has "no delight to pass way the time" (1.1.24-25). As such, it is clear that Richard is one who is innately evil; he is never satisfied in peaceful times, with chaos seemingly the only thing would truly allow him to feel alive. ...read more.

Middle

In the conveyance of his plans, Richard shows brutal honesty in his admittance of his evil nature and compares himself to his brother, King Edward. Once again, the use of antithesis is seen in the comparison of his brother's 'true and just' nature to his own 'false and treacherous' one. Here, Richard shamelessly reveals to the audience his plans to exploit the good character of his own brother, a further affirmation of his evil nature. Richard's use of language in the soliloquy presents him as a witty and charismatic individual to the audience. In spite of his evil nature and deformed physique, Richard appeals to the audience by speaking directly to them in all but brutal honesty with regards to himself. His interesting choice of formal and figurative elements of language also makes him a dramatic and intriguing character, allowing the audience to appreciate the side of him which is not seen in other parts of the play. In Laurence Olivier and Al Pacino's performance of the opening soliloquy, the audience is exposed to very different interpretations of Richard's character. While Olivier begins his monologue facing the audience, Pacino does his with his back constantly faced to the camera, with only one side of his face revealed. The choice of Pacino's body positioning creates a sinister impression - perhaps, a reflection of Richard's dark nature. On the other hand, the fact that Olivier chooses to allow a full frontal view of his face depicts the straightforwardness of Richard's character, an aspect that is overtly presented in his soliloquy. ...read more.

Conclusion

The manner in which the audience interprets both scenes is also affected by the editing of the shots. In comparison to Olivier's six shots in seven minutes, Pacino does eighty-nine in the same time span, with the speed of the cuts creating a sense of spontaneity that is often seen in theatre performances. (Method acting and Pacino's looking for Richard, pg.7). Also, the fast sequences can be seen as a reflection of Richard's mind; it moves at great speeds as he is constantly plotting against his brothers and thinking of ways to usurp the throne. The constant switching of scenes between Pacino's soliloquy and the various commentaries also creates a sense of suspense for the audience, compelling them to wait in anticipation and at the same time, allowing a better understanding of Richard's character. More importantly, the fast rhythm of Pacino's play keeps the audiences on their toes, creating a sense of constant change that is ever present in the chaotic world that Richard thrives in. Hence, it is apparent that the Richard that Olivier and Pacino attempts to present are vastly different. The aspects of mise-en-scene and the fashion in which they act and deliver their lines serve to further illustrate this fact. While Olivier's play is highly dramatized with 'fake medievalism', Pacino chooses to put forth a much more realistic version, creating a Richard that is much more relevant and comprehensible to the contemporary audience. ...read more.

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