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What impressions of Richard’s character does the audience obtain in Act I of Richard III? Does he have any positive qualities to enable him to win our interest, admiration or sympathy?

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Introduction

What impressions of Richard's character does the audience obtain in Act I of Richard III? Does he have any positive qualities to enable him to win our interest, admiration or sympathy? There are many discrepancies between the real Richard III the play was based on ? and the fictitious character created by Shakespeare. These discrepancies were created for several reasons: His deformity was played up in order to invoke disgust and to portray his lack of morals and evil spirit in a physical form, also Shakespeare had to make Richard look bad to please the Queen Elizabeth I as she was from an opposing family to Richard's. Also the history sources, which Shakespeare relied on to provide a basis of a character, were doctored in order to make the present monarchy look good. Another, perhaps more prominent reason for the particular character traits Shakespeare took was that he wanted to create an interesting central character which would interest the audience into watching the whole of the play. His choice of characteristics for Richard would also invoke a certain level of sympathy from a modern day audience due to his involuntary exclusion from society which caused him to be angry and vengeful. In truth he was fair and incorruptible he increased the freedom of the common people. In contrast the play portrayed a ruthless, devious, merciless child-killer who was desperate for power, a typical Machiavellian character. The opening soliloquy of Richard's put him and the audience closer together than any of the characters as they're the only people he takes his mask off for. ...read more.

Middle

and "Ah, he is young and his minority is put under the trust of Richard of Gloucester, a man who loves not me nor none of you." This openness shown from the queen exemplifies the fact that these people are Richard's enemies and cannot be trusted by him. The subsequent conversation after the first initial input by Richard is very direct and confrontational. It is also very critical and reproachful of the queen: - "our brother is imprisoned by your means," "she may do more sir, than denying that: she may help to many preferments, and then deny her aiding hand therein and lay those honours on your high dessert." In this atmosphere where nobody trusts anybody, Richard revels He is able to weave rumours and doubts into peoples heads i.e. he blames Queen Elizabeth for the imprisonment of Clarence and starts doubting her honesty and incorruptibility, the very things the politicians and monarchs were only just discussing about Richard. Everyone is very anxious as they know the king is near death and there is no obvious successor. Richard relishes in the anxiety and heightened emotion; starting vicious rumours. Richard also plays on the group's snobbery putting them above the queen as they are from a more upper class background. When Margaret enters he deals with her in a similar way to that of his dealings with Anne: - ignoring her insults but letting her have her say. No one knows how to react. ...read more.

Conclusion

The deception and murder of his brother Clarence along with his devil like composure overrides any of the admiration the audience harboured. The mixed emotion that Richard invokes of admiration and revulsion does not affect the interest. If anything, it heightens it, as the audience are still undecided on how they feel on that part of Richard's character. The question of sympathy is hard to answer as the reason that he acts the way that he does is because he is an outcast from society through no fault of his own. However, that does not excuse his actions it only explains them. For that reason, a certain level of sympathy may be invoked but pity, which is a much more stronger emotion, would most probably not be felt by the audience as the actions countermand any deeper emotion so all that's left is a shallow sense of compassion. The overall impression of Richard is of a sad and bitter man, which originates from him having been ostracised from society, who is ruthless in achieving his aims. He has the admirable qualities of being able to read people's characters, think quickly on his feet and pull the strings with hardly anyone realising. He is an interesting central character due to his cunning, deviousness, and wily nature. His ability to overcome hatred and vicious insults and come up victor is overwhelming although his lack of morals and determination to "prove a villain" makes him an excellent rogue. He is both the protagonist and antagonist. In summation, Richard provides an interesting character that summons up several emotions and provides an intriguing focal point for the play. rat puS e, seventh heaven, rapture, superlative ...read more.

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