• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Shakespeare reveal Richard III's characteristics and skills to be both repulsive and somehow impressive the first Act of the play?

Extracts from this document...


How does Shakespeare reveal Richard III's characteristics and skills to be both repulsive and somehow impressive the first Act of the play? Richard III is a dramatic and historic play by William Shakespeare, set in the 15th century. The play tells us the story of Richard III, and how he disposes of the royal family one by one, so he can become King. Soon after victory against the Scottish, Richard's father, the king, who was also named Richard, died, leaving Richard's younger brother Edward as the heir to the throne. Richard who has been waiting for his chance to become King, is angered, and plots a ruthless, but cunning plan to become King. Despite being physically disabled, Richard has the mind of a genius, his ruthless plan will certainly lead him to the throne. The audience has a mixture of reactions to Richard's character, at first, after hearing how he longs for a women to love him, they would sympathise, but after hearing his ruthless plan and plans to kill his own family with no guilt whatsoever, the audience would certainly be shocked and in disgust towards Richard's character. Richard's opening soliloquy explains his character in detail, resulting in a mixture of first sympathetic and then appalled reactions from the audience, who already have an accurate picture of Richard's extreme insecurity by the end of his soliloquy. The first sign of Richard's character is shown in "...He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber/ To the lascivious pleasing of a lute" We see that Richard is embarrassed to be in the presence of women, and is jealous of other men who have sexual relations. ...read more.


She uses powerful repetition in the quote: "OH, cursed be the hand that made these holes, cursed the heart that had the heart to do it, cursed the blood that let this blood from hence." This quote makes the task of seduction seem impossible, and our fascination is being increased as we don't see how Richard would be able to succeed. Towards the end of her opening speech, there is dark dramatic irony, where Anne says "If ever he have wife, let her be made more miserable by the death of him." Anne does not know that Richard plans on making her his wife, leaving us sympathising with Anne even more. When Richard enters the room, a fast paced stichomythia begins immediately, showing us Richard's outstanding patience with Anne, even whilst Anne is insulting him harshly. Whilst Anne curses Richard, he replies with only compliments. When Edward's wounds begin to bleed, Anne calls Richard a "lump of foul deformity" and says, "'tis thy presence that exhales this blood" She says the only reason Edward is bleeding is because the killer has entered the room. Her powerful metaphor of disgust makes us seem it is surely impossible to woo someone with so much hatred. When Anne insults Richard with bitter sarcasm: "Oh, wonderful, when devils tell the truth!" he replies back, twisting her remarks flirtatiously, "More wonderful when angels are so angry." Shakespeare uses Richard's power with words to show us how is still light, and Richard may still become successful in his mission to too Anne. The most powerful use of stichomythia is when Anne says Richard is "unfit for any place but hell", and Richard remarks, he is fit for one other place, "Your bedchamber." ...read more.


As Clarence begs for mercy, he drowned in stabbed countless times, then droned in a barrel of wine. Our anger towards Richard increases after seeing this cold blooded murder of his own brother. We realise that Richard truly will not let anyone or anything stop him in his path to becoming King. Despite having great sympathy for Richard at the beginning of the act, as it continued, my sympathy for him went downhill. I have seen Richard as a ruthless murdered and manipulative character who would destroy anything and anyone in his path to the throne, and yet not feel a single bit guilty. In the rest of the play, I can expect to see Richard continuing to destroy anything in his path, but without the need to to act as much. He had succeeded in destroying his brother, the King, and now all he had to do was win over the country, which with his skill with words would not be difficult. I have great sympathy for Richard's victims, all of whom were unsuspecting, and were stabbed in the back, literally and metaphorically. Whilst others may feel Richard had a bad childhood, and was just another person, following a dream, I must disagree. Richard could have fulfilled his mission without using such ruthfulness, without murdering countless unsuspecting people, without creating lies and deceit, spreading rumours, and falsely turning members of the same family against each other. I feel the key strategy used by Shakespeare that has most shaped by reaction to Richard, was Richard's skill with words, the way he could twist anything anyone said, in favour of himself. Without this skill, Richard would not have won countless verbal battles in the Act, which were an important contribution to his path to the throne. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Richard III section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Richard III essays

  1. Discuss The Character of Richard III as Shakespeare Presents Him, and How the Play ...

    feel as though Richard did the correct thing and was justified, the public would then not see him as a bad person. Richard tries to convince Elizabeth that he will replace her dead sons by marrying and having children with her daughter.

  2. Discuss the ways in which Shakespeare creates and maintains dramatic tension in Act ...

    Mercutio also teases Tybalt by calling him a "rat-catcher." In those days, this was the job of a poor, filthy person. Mercutio implies that although Tybalt if from that kind of background, he is behaving like a filthy, poor and powerless man. This leads to a swordfight which Romeo tries to stop by holding Mercutio's arms, which enables Tybalt to run Mercutio through with his sword.

  1. How far would you say Shakespeare creates sympathy in the minds of the audience ...

    that not only is her second marriage dull and uninteresting, but also her husband wants to kill her, to allow him to marry his own niece. Shakespeare, by doing this, makes the audience feel sympathetic towards Lady Anne, and pity her dismal life.

  2. 'In his depiction of Richard III Shakespeare has created much more than a simple ...

    He knows about his withered arm and his hunchback, and how they hinder him in life. This array of words and the way he expresses them makes us feel sorry for him. But Richard, later in the play, is physically active and his motivations are hardly reminiscent of his physical deformity.

  1. In act 1 scene 2 Richard III has many difficulties before he wins Lady ...

    But here he does nothing and stays clam. Another very dramatic moment is when he gives Lady Anne the dagger to kill him. He knows that she is not going to do that because then she would be responsible for three deaths (as Richard portrays it).

  2. Richard III's Character in the Play and History

    Richard mocks the opposition before the battle "Remember whom you are to cope withal: a sort of vagabonds, rascals and runaways, A scum of Bretons and base lackey peasants," The way that Richard insults his opposition shows how little he cares about his army, as long as he retains the

  1. Why does the audience admire Richard III and feel sympathy based on the opening ...

    Elizabethans would think that deformity or disability was due to the sinning and indulging in evil acts due to temptations from the Devil. According to them this reflects in their appearance which is deformity and this is why they were looked down.

  2. King Richard the Third

    This is verified to the reader a little before the final battle, where he dreams of all the ghosts of all of his victims. The reader is aware it is a dream, and therefore they must realise that Richard may sub-consciously be feeling remorse and guilt for the treacherous deeds he has committed.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work