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Give an account of the methods, which Shakespeare uses to reveal Richard IIIs character to us and to shape our attitudes towards him.

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Introduction

Shakespeare Coursework Task: Give an account of the methods, which Shakespeare uses to reveal Richard's character to us and to shape our attitudes towards him. You should also refer to Shakespeare's manipulation of history and the way in which he sets out to present Richard III in a particular way. Richard the third was king during the 15th century and happened to be one of the best kings England had, and did, as kings go, a good job of running the country. Shakespeare however makes him out to be an evil manipulative person who does anything and everything to gain power. Also Shakespeare meddles about with time and the order in which things really happen, with the basic concept of making Richard seem even more scheming and seductive. Why should such a brilliant playwright want to lie about a good and decent king such as Richard the third? As soon as you start this play, Shakespeare is already hammering the image of Richard as a disgusting and rotten toad who is so evil and horrible that such quotations as used as a description for him. "That dogs bark at me as I halt by them" Another thing that happens is that Shakespeare, instead of setting the scene and keeping it calm in the first act, already is getting the plot introduced and thickened. Within the first 10 pages of the Oxford edition it already has Richard killing someone by methods, which involve others doing the dirty work for his own benefit. ...read more.

Middle

You see that Shakespeare hasn't even finished the first act yet but still there is an awful lot to take in, in terms of plot, and you can see the basic structure Richard is cunningly using to get into power. We know that Richard does become king and does get killed at the end, but that isn't what makes this play what it is, it is the way the character of Richard is gradually revealed to us in different forms, whether it be a murderer, a joker, a charmer or his majesty himself. As Richard moves on he discovers (to his pleasure) that the king is very ill and will undoubtedly die soon from natural causes. You see that Richard isn't at all bothered by the fact that a man is going to die, but is more bothered about how to become king after he is gone. Act 3 scene 1 is an important scene in this play when looking at Richards's character and shapes another side of Richard into your mind. This time it is the joker that he is playing. All the while though, when Richard puts on these fake moods and behaviors he always has on thing on his mind, and that is self-gain. Shakespeare seems to make him out as a greedy character as we see later on when he is finally crowned. ...read more.

Conclusion

The most effective method, in my opinion, of shaping Richards character to the way, which suited him and the country as it, was when written. This is the way in which Shakespeare lied about his character right from the start to make him out to be a very sinister, clever, sneaky, overpowering villain. If you knew nothing about Richard the third and turned to this book as a source of information you would think he was a terrible man and so proving that this is a very effective method. Shakespeare will have gave many people the wrong impression of Richard and shaped their minds to fit his own. The question at the start is answered simply in two words and they are "Tudor Propaganda." The truth is that Shakespeare didn't have much choice in the way in which he described Richard as at the time when the play was written the house of Lancaster were in power. Richard was from the house of York so if he was made out to be a good decent king, Shakespeare could have been prevented from publishing or even locked up in prison. This is the reason why so many people have wrong beliefs about the good king Richard, and why Shakespeare shaped his audiences views on him to be a character of pure evil. It is the fault of a thing, which is the cause for most faults then and now, politics. ...read more.

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