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Does Shakespeare tell us everything we need to know about Richard in his opening speech?

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Introduction

Does Shakespeare tell us everything we need to know about Richard in his opening speech? In Richard's opening speech, Shakespeare tells us some things that you need to know about Richard, but not all. The opening speech gives a hint as to what is going to happen, as what Richard says in his opening speech is seen later on in the play. However, there are some things we don't find out until later in the play. In Richard's opening speech we learn that he has laid 'plots', and 'inductions dangerous'. We later learn that the 'plots' are to kill Clarence, and to seize the crown. The 'inductions dangerous' are to kill all that stand in his path to the throne. ...read more.

Middle

He is 'subtle' because he very subtly worms his way to the throne. We see this when he makes everyone think he is friendly, and this also ties in with his being 'false'. For example, in Act 3, scene 4, Richard sends Ely for strawberries, trying to prove he is kind and make a good atmosphere, so he does not seem to be a suspect. This is a very 'subtle' way of appearing friendly. The way Richard blames the Woodvilles constantly is very subtle too - "It is the queen and her allies that stir the king against the duke my brother... to be revenged on Rivers, Grey and Vaughan." He says these things to powerful lords such as Hastings, Derby and Buckingham so that rumours can be spread, and later the Woodvilles are executed due to Richard's cunning. ...read more.

Conclusion

Richard: "The uncles which you want were dangerous." Here, Richard is once again being "subtle, false and treacherous," as he is the dangerous uncle. This is seen again when he says to the prince "My dagger, little cousin? With all my heart" so that the prince can protect himself, but Richard is the person he needs protecting from, as he is the later murderer of the princes. Richard's opening speech also tells us about his physical deformity. It tells that his deformity is the main reason he is going to seize the throne, although he does not say it in exactly this way. He says because he is not "shaped for sportive tricks" he is "determined to prove a villain". This shows that he is very bitter about his deformity, and could possibly be taking it out on the people around him. Becci Cooper 10EH English Coursework ...read more.

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