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

Is Richard III a hero or a villain

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Is Richard III a hero or a villain? A hero is defined as "a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability, an illustrious warrior, a person- a man admired for noble achievements & qualities (e.g. courage), the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work". A villain is defined as "a scoundrel, rascal; also a criminal, a character in a story or play whose evil actions affect the plot". I feel as if I should define "antihero" as this could be a relevant term for Richard. An antihero is defined as "a protagonist who lacks traditional heroic qualities (e.g. courage). The question is very relevant to the character of Richard. I believe this is because he encompasses two personalities, which in itself makes him villainous, but also makes him a character of several dimensions. Certain qualities fall into the categories of "villainous" & "heroic" but Richard's character is not simply one or the other, since he embodies characteristics which fall into both categories. During Richard's life, there was a great lack of political stability. The Wars of the Roses (which lasted 30 years) was fought between the houses of Lancaster (red rose), & York (white rose). ...read more.

Middle

& want loves majesty...since I cannot prove a lover...I am determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days" (lines 16-31, act 1 scene 1). This language shows his jealousy "want loves majesty", his deep resentment "rudely stamped", & how instead of living & letting live, he is determined to spoil the lives of others enjoy himself in the process "since I cannot prove a lover...I am determined to prove a villain", showing how he is vindictive, certainly a villainous quality. I think it is important that he uses the word determined, showing it is his true intent, & more importantly, all this language shows his actions were not spur of the moment, but pre-meditated, & well thought through. I know it is off the subject but Ian Mckellen gave this impression on screen- intelligent, not insane, & thinking very clearly, showing his true intent. This is the way I perceive Richard, & these qualities are villainous. In his pleading (& twisting) conversation with Anne, Richard shows he is manipulative & audacious. He says to her "Your beauty was the cause of that effect; your beauty: which did haunt me in my sleep" he has the audacity to turn his heinous crimes around on her, when a real hero would show remorse, & be pleading for forgiveness, having told the truth. ...read more.

Conclusion

Richard questions Buckingham's manhood & from this point on suspects him up until he kills him. This is perhaps a main factor in whether Richard is a hero or a villain. Because he is so ungrateful, ruthless & backstabbing to kill the person who did a lot of work in getting him where he is, it could classify him as a real villain. However, Buckingham could have been perceived by the audience as a sly, greedy character who had no relationship with the audience, & so deserved his death for being ambitious, yet not completely unflinching. The audience may take Buckingham's murder as a sign of Richard's ruthlessness, or slight cheekiness, & so does not classify him as an outright hero or villain in itself. Overall, my personal verdict is that Richard III is a villain. His evil actions & two-faced character contribute to his being a villain. His brazen evil & his relentless back stabbing cannot possibly classify him as a hero. Granted, he can be an endearing character to the audience, but Elizabethan audiences would have regarded his deformity as a curse, & would have ridiculed him for this. I believe Shakespeare wrote the character of Richard as a villain, someone who the audience hate to love, & it does portray the Tudors as the rightful heirs 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 ...

    Richard then says that he has done a favour to her husband by killing him because heaven is a place better than earth. "Let him than me, that holp to send him thither," he also says this regarding his brother Clarence whom he ordered to be killed in the tower of London.

  2. How Genuine was the Relationship Between Richard and Buckingham?

    when he offers his condolences to the distraught Queen Elizabeth by his speech: "Sister, have comfort. All of us have cause To wail the dimming of our shining star; (Aside) And make me die a good old man!" He delivers it falsely and patronisingly which reminds us once again of the fact that Richard cannot be trusted.

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

    I mentioned in the above paragraph, that he appeals to our senses, but also the way he use metaphorical terms. When he says 'and that so lamely unfashionable that dogs bark at me as I halt by them -'. I believe this is metaphor used to emphasise on how low and humiliated he feels.

  2. Is Richard the Hero of the play or its villain

    this the audience is able to see how much of a great actor he is and how charming he is, he tries to make her believe that it was her beauty that made him kill her father, " your beauty was the cause of that effect".

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

    Yet there is more to Richard than meets the eye. His attractive mentality has already lured us into looking behind his physical appearance and made us his ally, something we see happen to people later on in the play. His true motivations still remain a mystery to us though and that is another one of his true assets - deceit.

  2. Examine The Character Of Richard The Third As Shakespeare Presents Him To Us, And ...

    'Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am' he begins to piece together all he has done in his mind and even appears to fear and loathe himself for the crimes he has committed. Shakespeare's play Richard III paints the picture of a bitter tyrant, a man angry at

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

    crown, in comparison to Richmond encourages his side and is fighting for God and all good. "God and our good cause fight upon our side." Richard's oration to his soldiers shows desperation and how he solely cares about himself. Richard often makes jokes in the play.

  2. How does Shakespeare shape the audience's perception of Richard in Act One scene one ...

    (although the audience later find out that this refers to Richard of Gloucester). Richard effectively wants his brother out of the way. Richard has formed a spiteful nature, and appears to wish he was still at war; he is a fighter, and wants nothing to do with the celebrations, but to be back with a sword in his hand.

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