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How is Richard III presented and how does his character compare with other figures in history?

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Introduction

How is Richard III presented and how does his character compare with other figures in history? In the play, Shakespeare presents Richard as a person who blames others for people's situations that he has caused. He does this by pretending to Clarence that it is the queen's fault he has been imprisoned. To help ease the pain for Clarence and understand the decision made, Richard tells him that "men are ruled by women" and Clarence understands this given to what others say about her. The language used has an impact because Richard is telling Clarence this and may be said in a disgraced way. Furthermore when talking, Richard uses the line "we are the queens abject" to demonstrate the power one person has over them all. The word abject stands out the most because it means both spiritless and degrading - this is what view Richard wants people to have of Elizabeth's outlook of everyone else. Straight afterwards he says "and must obey" and means that orders that are not obeyed by anyone will be punished. Because it has been Richard who has manipulated events to put Clarence in prison, he uses the queen's low popularity often in order to cover up. Still trying to convince Clarence that it is her fault he tells him " 'Tis not the king that sends you to the tower" and uses persuasive language to make him see. ...read more.

Middle

Richard also makes us feel sympathetic towards him. Because of his portrayed bestial form he uses this to make us feel pity for him and this is why we favour his side. When Richard reveals his genuine feelings of self-disgust to the audience with the lines "My dukedom to be a beggarly denier" and "Myself to be a marv'lous proper man", not only does he compare his dukedom with a worthless coin but also his form with another mans. The language is a strong indicator of sympathy because the word 'beggarly' is like the poorest of the poor. We also feel sympathetic towards him because throughout the play, Richard shares his most inner secrets and feelings with no other character and only us. We know this because he says, "I am determined to prove a villain" and shows us that he will do what he needs to do even through crime. He has declared his intentions with us and the characters do not know this. Shakespeare also creates this sympathy near the end of the play. Before the battle, ghosts torment Richard in his dreams and "die and despair" is said by each victim that has died because of him. When he wakes with Ratcliffe holding him like a mother- child act he repeats "oh Ratcliffe, I fear, I fear", showing that he has doubts about everything. ...read more.

Conclusion

The language is said like this so at first it is taken at face value then when read has different meanings. Even when Richard says "brother, farewell" Clarence thinks goodbye for a short time but what really is meant is goodbye forever. He also manages calmly to disapprove of King Edward by saying to Clarence "this deep disgracing brotherhood" blaming it entirely on Edward so that Clarence still trusts Richard. The word 'disgracing' stands out the most because it is harsh and has a big impact on brothers that were once really close. When it is followed by "touches more than you can imagine" he may actually mean it because everyone loves there family but Richard loves power more and will put his family second. The words "you can imagine" stand out more, because it is more than he can imagine, he does not know what his brother is plotting. Now, Richard can be related to Tony Blair. At the moment he is calm about war, there has been little preparation and he is not nervous when talking or on television. Similar to how Richard was calm about the death of nearly all his family. In conclusion, I think that Richard can be unreliable, selfish and greedy for power. His humiliating actions to people are cruel, however he is very cunning and intelligent. Shakespeare again presents a story with a wide range of characters all with motives and skilful plans. ...read more.

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