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"Richard III is a study in evil." Discuss Richard's role as a tragic hero.

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Transfer-Encoding: chunked ?RICHARD III IS A STUDY IN EVIL? DISCUSS RICHARD?S ROLE AS A TRAGIC HERO Aristotle, a greek philosopher, claimed that tragedy was a depiction of the downfall of a noble person who has desirable qualities, through a combination of hubris, fate and the will of Gods. This is the basis for the argument of Richard?s role as a tragic hero. Many of Shakespeare?s plays include a tragic hero. One example is Macbeth. Macbeth fits with Aristotle?s idea of a tragic hero as he was a noble person; he came from a rich family. Similar to Richard who also belongs to an aristocrat family ? he was in the beginning the Duke of Gloucester and then later became King Richard III. So like Macbeth, Richard could be a tragic hero. He does not have any desirable qualities. He is represented as being witty and charismatic. He is called the ?formal Vice? and a quality of the Vice figure is wit and cruel humour. A popular character during the period in which Shakespeare was writing. The Vice had its origins in the morality plays of the sixteenth century, where medieval devils, who tempted mankind, were repulsive and dangerous, but also comic. ...read more.


At the end after the appearance of the ghosts, Richard realises that ?no creature loves? him but even now when he is afraid, the villain remains on the course he set himself when he began plotting at the start of the play. He recognises his evil, acknowledges the power of his conscience, but he is not really a changed man at the end of this speech. His failure to make peace with God shows us that the villain must be physically defeated, as he has now been defeated, mentally, by a dream. Richard therefore, due to the fact that his downfall was willed by Gods, cannot be a tragic hero. It is also said that a tragic hero should have a flaw or make some mistake (hamartia) and must therefore undergo a change in fortune. Macbeth also had a flaw ? his greediness. Similar to this, it could be argued that Richard also has a flaw. Richard?s character is emphasised by his evil nature; he even admits to this by stating ?I am a villain?. The personal pronoun ?I? linked with the proper noun ?villain? clearly shows that he recognises his evil nature. ...read more.


The audience also feel fear in the play as we realise that Richard was born into a family where his actions were perhaps accepted. But on the other hand, he ultimately does not learn anything from it. Despite the acceptance of the fact that he is ?a murderer,? it is difficult to think that he has received any punishment for his sins. Tragic heroes would often, at the end of the play, achieve some revelation or recognition (anagnorisis) about the human condition. He should recognise his mistake, grow through that and feel terrible remorse for it. But for Richard, he does not feel any remorse for his actions and learns no moral lesson and continues his behaviour the way it is. Shakespearean characters like Othello and Lear undergo extreme torment, and learn the truth about themselves before they meet tragic ends. Richard knows himself too well. He is not a good man who just makes a fatal error of judgement. He is a self-confessed villain. He learns nothing and comes to no new understanding about himself, the nature of humanity or the world in which he lives. He dies unrepentant. So to conclude, he is not a tragic hero like other Shakespearean characters like Lear, Othello or Macbeth. ...read more.

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