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Taking into consideration of the language and structure of the play, how would you direct a stage version of Act 1 of Richard III?

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Introduction

Taking into consideration of the language and structure of the play, how would you direct a stage version of Act 1 of Richard III? Richard III is definitely a play that needs to be looked at in depth. Shakespeare has so many themes and ideas running through the play when directing a stage version the director needs to take this into account. Shakespeare shows the importance of his themes and ideas through the structure and the languages used. For this essay I will be focusing on Act 1 in particular. In the opening we are introduced to Richard and are given a basic history and background, that there has been war and now it is over. "Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this son of York." Shakespeare started the play in this way because of the 'equilibrium'; everything is neutral, war is over and there is peace. Shakespeare seems to suggest urgency the 'Now' indicates he wants attention, he has authority. And yet we get this opposition between 'winter' and 'summer', which suggests a fight with himself and for his identity. The use of natural imagery introduces the idea of nature vs. nurture, here Shakespeare is already asking whether Richard is naturally a villain, or whether his strives to be one. Therefore when Richard first comes on stage I would have him take his time to come to the centre front, to contradict the urgency that he wants when he speaks. ...read more.

Middle

Later in the same scene Richard offers his sword to Anne and gives her the opportunity to kill him. Shakespeare wants us to start questioning Richard, as he seemed to be looking for sympathy in his soliloquyn in the previous scene, he says "I cannot prove a lover" yet he is obviously able to seduce Anne and manipulate her as she doesn't have the courage to kill Richard. "He lays his breast open [;] she offers at with the sword Nay, do not pause, for I did kill Henry, But 'twas thy beauty that provoked me. Nay, now dispatch; 'twas I that stabbed young Edward. But 'twas thy heavenly face that set me on. She falls the sword" We can see from this quote the way in which he is able to manipulate Anne, by repetition, he seems persuasive. Shakespeare could be saying a lot of things here, he could be again, showing moral through the women, as Anne doesn't kill him, it shows she has a conscience, maybe she couldn't live with the thought of having murdered someone, even if she thought he deserved it. Also, that Anne seemed to be able to quite easily slaughter him through her words, but she hasn't the courage to do it; as women's only power was their ability to curse. It could also be Richard's stereotyping women, and saying what he expects women want to hear. Shakespeare was also saying something about fate. ...read more.

Conclusion

To bring all these factors to light through direction here is how I would have the actors perform the sequence in which Clarence is killed: Clarence is on hands and knees pleading for his life (look as if praying, to reflect his innocence), right at the first murderers feet holding onto his thigh. The first murderer is his holding sword above Clarence biting lip, as if fighting with himself. CLARENCE: A beggar prince, what beggar pities not? SECOND MURDERER: (looks at first murderer, then turns Clarence's head away (therefore they wont have to look into his eyes when doing it) Look behind you, my Lord. (Nods to first murderer, then closes his eyes) FIRST MURDERER: (raises sword high with both hands, slowly, then plunges swiftly) Take that, (raises and plunges again) and that. Shakespeare has used structure and language to emphasise the ideas and themes that run through the play. By doing this Shakespeare has made everything clear as to what he wanted to get through the production and therefore the director can see how to portray it to the audience. To make them take into consideration of whether Richard is evil, whether he is meant to be that way, through nature or it has been nurtured within him. Religion and the role of women and how they reflect Richard's character in this play, as well as power and superstition. During the time Shakespeare was writing, new ideas were becoming apparent. He seems to be exploring and questioning everything people where inquiring at the time. ?? ?? ?? ?? Faith Austin AS English Literature ...read more.

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