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To What Extent Is Shakespeare's Richard II A Stereotypical Villain

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Introduction

To What Extent is Richard A Stereotypical Villain? Bethan Siddons When a stereotypical villain is imagined, ideas of 'pantomime baddies' and James Bond's arch enemies appear. On the surface, these seem unlikely to relate to the character of Richard III in William Shakespeare's play of the same name, however, on closer inspection character traits can be identified that seem very common between all of them. It is to the extent of which that will be investigated. It is simple to identify Richard's villainous role as his opening soliloquy reads, "I am determin�d to prove a villain." This seems similar to the idea that all evil characters plan deliberately to act vile rather than be forced into it by someone else. There is no mistaking his desire to do wrong as shown by the word "determin�d" which can suggest his mental attitude to attain the role as well as the thought that his life choices were already laid out before him by God and that he was born evil. ...read more.

Middle

This is a complete lie on Richard's behalf as he addresses King Edward as being a terrible brother to Clarence when it is indeed himself that has betrayed Clarence. Not only is it not true but it is said to empathise with Clarence so Richard sounds the loving brother, when once again, that is not the case at all. He is using this line to deceive Clarence and manipulate the way he feels towards Edward and Richard himself. He follows this line with, "your imprisonment shall not be long" which purposefully sounds comforting to Clarence but its underlying meaning is that Richard will have him soon killed. This intelligence gives Richard an opportunity to form plans and commit actions to achieve his sinister aims as well as making it entertaining for the audience. Just as any modern day villain would do, the intellect is used only to find ways to revenge the leading man and seems wasted as it could be used for so many better deeds. ...read more.

Conclusion

He sounds almost lonely, "no delight" and dejected which could imply why he turned to becoming villainous so the audience almost feels pity for him. It is unlike most wicked characters that people can almost empathise with them which is one way which makes him completely different. He was, after all, created almost 500 years ago before the idea of a 'stereotype'. He may well have been the beginning of the creation or deliberately fashioned that way to increase the entertainment value of the play. However, it seems difficult to fully answer how stereotypical he is as he shows elements of being so unlike them, such as how he explains his emotional weakness, as well as giving evidence that he is not unlike a stereotype at all, such as the intelligence he has to plot his evil deeds. Perhaps being an evil character instantly creates an idea of being stereotypical and Richard III is no different to any other villain created for the purposes of entertainment. ...read more.

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