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Richard III Manipulates the Court of York in the same way that Shakespeare Manipulates History. Discuss the links between the playwright and protagonist.

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Richard III Manipulates the Court of York in the same way that Shakespeare Manipulates History. Discuss the links between the playwright and protagonist. Richard may be portrayed as an evil, vile, lying murderer but he actually has many aspects in common with the man who shaped him into this revolting state of mind, Shakespeare himself. Shakespeare's Richard III is one of the only written documents we have describing this misapprehended king and Shakespeare was born many years after his death so he had no possible way of knowing what happened first hand. All evidence points to Shakespeare's ideas being total fiction just as the Richard he describes lies and slanders to the courts. When we first meet Richard he instantly begins a soliloquy to the audience who are captivated with resentment for him as they are the people included in his plots and plans and are powerless to impede them. Right from the start he establishes himself as a synonym for evil. He portrays to the audience about his physical deformity with pleasure, which we later see is a metaphor for his psychological state of mind. Being 'Cheated of feature by dissembling nature' (Act I Scene 1 line 19) he uses it to mask his evil and rationalize his becoming a villain. He feigns upset and disappointment that people hate him solely because of his malformation and routinely feel sympathy for him. 'Because I cannot flatter and look fair, Smile in men's faces smooth, deceive and cog ...I must be held a rancorous enemy.' (Act I Scene 3 Lines 43-50) This of course is an example of dramatic irony as the audience and Richard both know that he really should be held a rancorous enemy and he does 'flatter, smile smooth, deceive and cog' for example when he woos Anne in almost impossible circumstances. He validates his impiety by telling the audience of his boredom with life. ...read more.


Richard sees wooing Anne as an intellectual game. He tries many methods to win her over and is abrupt at changing his tactics. He is determined not to give up as first he fires names at her such as 'Divine perfection of a woman' (Act I Scene 2 Line 75) and 'angel' (Line 74) whilst she hurls names back at him like 'diffused infection of a man' (Line 78) and 'hedgehog'. When she is not taken in by his remarks he is forced to come at her from a different angle, He refuses having murdered her husband and father-in-law, but this is abruptly brought to a halt when Anne reveals proof as 'Queen Margaret saw [thy] murd'rous falchion smoking in his blood' (Lines 95-96). When she catches him out all he can do is give a light-hearted 'I grant ye' (Line 104). He then turns the blame over to her, '[your] beauty was the cause of that effect. [Your] beauty that did haunt me in my sleep to undertake the death of all the world' (Lines 126-128), to which she replies: 'If I thought that, I tell thee, homicide, these nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks' (Lines 130-131). As one last resort he cleverly offers himself for her to kill, as he knows that she could never murder another human being, and as he thought, she cannot be the executioner however she is happy for him to commit suicide. Richard is put on the spot here, as he has no intention of killing himself so when prompted for the second time Anne cannot tell him to kill himself again. Richard makes it appear to Anne like she is in charge and in control over his life but even though he is taking a huge risk he knows people very well and can judge when and where a tactic will be appropriate, so really he knows that he is not truly risking his life. ...read more.


The next time Margaret appears watching her curses come true in Act IV Scene 4 she would in real life have been dead. Shakespeare feels the need to bring her back to life here to remind the characters that she was right and it is important that they wish they had listened to her and wish to learn how to curse like her. It shows their true hatred for Richard even though they are his close family and once again shows his wickedness. Shakespeare also juxtaposes Richard's evil directly with Richmond's piety to further enhance his sinfulness. Richmond is portrayed as a perfect, holy saint of a man who would only ever hurt someone if it would help others. This of course is Elizabeth's grandfather and she would have been flattered by this virtuous interpretation. Putting something good directly against something bad makes it seem all the worse and Shakespeare takes advantage of this to the full and right the way through Act V Scene 3 the scene is constantly switched between the two. This is a clever tactic to use as it makes Richard look wicked and at the same time makes Richmond look saintly and full of equanimity as he cares for his supporters. So Richard and Shakespeare are in reality quite similar to one another in certain aspects. They both wish to achieve a goal not caring who they have to hurt or crush if they have to do it to accomplish it. Whilst Richard murders and manipulates people to become king, diminishing his family name as he does so, Shakespeare takes an innocent character and turns him into an evil tyrant to be forever hated and manipulates history in such a way as to destroy one man's name for centuries to come. Shakespeare may be a well respected playwright and historical figure but it is fairly clear that he doesn't care who he has to put down to achieve such a high status. Richard III and Shakespeare are one and the same when you look deeper. ? ...read more.

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