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"How effective do you find Shakespeare's use of the supernatural in the final Act of Richard III?"

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Introduction

By Kalpesh Magudia "How effective do you find Shakespeare's use of the supernatural in the final Act of Richard III?" Richard III was written by William Shakespeare and tells the story of how Richard III wants to become king and does everything in his power to get there by assassinating members of his family to do so, for example, the Duke of Clarence, Lord Hastings, Lady Anne, Lord Rivers, the Duke of Buckingham, Henry VI, Prince Edward, Prince Edward V and Prince Richard. The last Act contains many supernatural elements such as ghosts of the people Richard III has murdered or got killed and curses, for example, Buckingham remembering Margaret's curse, prophecies and dreams, a message from the supernatural from the future. Shakespeare may have used these supernatural events to entertain his audience who would have believed in ghosts and that the ghosts of the murdered family members have come to curse Richard. The differences between Shakespeare's audience and today's audiences are that Shakespeare's audience believed in the supernatural much more. Ghosts, curses, prophecies and dreams were believed in when they told something about the future and what it meant which were taken literally. ...read more.

Middle

This makes the scene look more theatrical and stimulating, this enables the audience to see what is going on inside Richard's head and whether we can see that he does or doesn't really have a conscience. Clarence's dream was how he saw that he would be killed: "Methought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling, struck me" and how Richard, his own brother, was responsible for his death. Stanley's dream was about the boar, the symbol for Richard: "He dreamt the boar had razed off his helm" and the imagery of Richard's animal is a significant reference to the Elizabethan audience who interpreted animal imagery with interest. Richard would cut off; or remove anyone who got in the way of the throne and how Stanley fears his death. This enables us to see the personality of Richard and how he would use both sides of the family to get where he wanted to, how he used people and then he would eliminate them. Anne curses Richard because for what he did to her husband (Prince Edward and her father in law): "black knight o'ershade thy day, and death thy life." ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare's use of supernatural may seem surprising in a play like Richard III, because the play contains historical events. The historical events tell us a story about a real person and Shakespeare tries to let the audience to make up their own decision, although he clearly does have a strong influence. For example, Richard is a hero because the audience admires his power and cunning, but mostly we see Richard is a villain because he generates the malevolence and violence in the play, being efficient, imaginative, persuasive, intelligent and confident and in control. The play tells the audience about the events that took place, for example, the ghosts murdered cursing Richard just before he goes to war with Richmond. This allows the audience to make up their own mind if the supernatural affected Richard's conscience and his guilt. I feel that the use of paranormal is effective because it allows the audience to get into the character's minds and see what they are thinking. This enables the audience to look at the characters life and personality and how it has changed. For example, Richard's personality changes from hostile and vicious to a self-pitying person who realises that: "There is no creature loves me!" ...read more.

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