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

Shakespeare(TM)s Satire of the Superiors

Extracts from this document...


Shakespeare's Satire of the Superiors When regarding the upper-class of the Elizabethan era, many thoughts would come to mind, most of them would revolve around - sharp, deserving, and fair. However, if closely observed, one would find that this is not the case with all of them. In fact, some members of the higher class (which included the nobles, the royals and the church) were the opposite of the image they projected. Many were quite unintelligent, disloyal, over-confident and selfish. William Shakespeare, one of the greatest playwrights to date, quite often addresses this topic in many of his historical plays - including one of his most prominent - King Richard the III. Through his portrayal of the actions, thoughts and personality of King Edward, Lord Hastings, and the Duke of Buckingham, Shakespeare challenges the stereotype of upper class as being morally upright, intelligent and honorable. Throughout the play, King Edward is portrayed as an irresponsible king who lives only for "personal pleasures". He is seen as someone who cares little for the crown and his country and more for his mistresses, especially Jane Shore. Edward's actions and thoughts not only proved him a bad ruler but also created more opportunities for trouble, which results in a mutual hatred between the Woodvilles and his brother. ...read more.


Another example of his gullibility is when Stanley's messenger recites Stanley's dream to Buckingham. In the dream, Stanley sees a boar knocking off Hastings's helmet (Richard represents the boar and the helmet represents Hastings's head). Hastings, in a very ignorant manner, ignores this dream and tells the messenger to return to Stanley and comfort him that nothing like that shall happen: "Tell him his fears are shallow, without instance/ and for his dreams, I wonder he's so simple/ To trust the mockery of unquiet slumber/To fly the boar before the boar pursues/ Were to incense the boar to follow us/ And make pursuit where he did mean no chase. /Go bid thy master rise and come to me." (III.ii.19-31). This quote also shows Hastings's over-confidence, as he believes that Richard really loves and respects him. Hastings then goes on to make a blunder due to great ignorance, over-confidence, pride and ego when he claims to Catesby: "I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders/ Before I'll see the crown so foul misplaced/ But canst thou guess that he doth aim to it?" (III.ii. 42- 45). This part is considered to be Hastings's greatest mistake as he (in complete unawareness of the company and consequences) ...read more.


For our hearts,/ He knows no more of mine than I of yours,/Or I of his, my lord, than you of mine/ Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love. (III.i.v.10- 14). Buckingham is shown as a person who is very influential and powerful but dishonest with words. He is an excellent public speaker who manages to fool the citizens into believing that Richard was the most suitable candidate for the throne. Buckingham is very cunning and will do anything to get what he wants - including murder, disloyalty and backstabbing. Buckingham also shows ignorance when he ignores Margaret's warning about being cheated on by the one he trusts the most, and he later pays for this mistake when Richard betrays him and orders his death. Despite being a nobleman, Buckingham committed many crimes and was not what one would expect of a duke. The belief that the upper class or the noble class is noble in its words, actions and deeds is often just a myth. Because of position, power and wealth in the higher class the undercurrent of betrayals, treachery and subterfuge are more predominant. Shakespeare, in this play provides the audience/reader with satire on this subject through the way present the three characters of noble background. With his representation of the higher class through these three figures, human failings and weaknesses can be found in anyone, noble or otherwise. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages 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 International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. The Portrayal of Pride, Ego and manipulation in the play Twelfth Night

    After all this, when Cesario has left, Olivia's desire to see him and to find out whether he is Orsino in disguise or not, causes her to pretend a ploy to bring him back. She pretends that he had left his ring at her house while he had not done anything of that sort.

  2. Hamlet ACT I Scene I:1

    He states that we all will eventually become maggots, and that Claudius' reign is insignificant. This passage where Hamlet states that Polonius is at dinner also parallels the way that King Claudius came into power. Claudius killed King Hamlet, and then came to become King Claudius, by marrying Queen Gertrude.

  1. Empowering Women in Richard the Third

    Lord Grey: "Now Margaret's curse is fall'n upon our heads, When she exclaimed on Hastings, you, and I, For standing by when Richard stabbed her son." "Then cursed she Richard, then cursed she Buckingham. Then cursed she Hastings. O, remember, God, Lord Rivers: To hear her prayer for them, as now for us!

  2. Commentary on Misplaced Geishas of Wanchai

    We can feel their 'desperate for a letter, a pay phone, a six-pack of Pepsi or ticket back to Manila', which is an alliteration to emphasize their simple wants. The want for a ticket back to Manila represents a similarity between Filipinas and geishas, that they are both unwilling to

  1. e - Marketing. Svaka tvrtka nastoji razvijati nove proizvode, to zbog zadovoljavanja elja i ...

    Koncepcija se mo�e prezentirati simbolicno (ponekad je dovoljno rijecima ili slikom) ili fizicki (pouzdanije). Nakon prezentiranja koncepcije kupci odgovaraju na vi�e pitanja da bi se doznalo da li koncepcija dovoljno sna�no privlaci potro�ace i predstavlja rje�enje njihovih potreba. 4. Razvoj marketin�ke strategije Slijedi preliminarni plan strategije marketinga koji se sastoji

  2. William Shakespeare Macbeth

    We learn from the First Witch's story that the witches control the winds, for the Second and Third Witches offer the First their winds in her revenge of the sailor - "I'll give thee a wind", "And I another."

  1. Sexual Relations: The Fertility of Treachery

    4 Moudo followed his inner lust, betrayed Ramatoulaye whom age and twelve childbirths had left shapeless, for Binetou. "I had lost my slim figure, as well as ease and quickness of movement. My stomach protruded from beneath the wrapper that hid the calves..............

  2. Commentary on "I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King

    people overestimate their rights and in reality are simply small cogs in a great machine. The stealing of rights should be treated as a criminal offence. The main clause ?our god is also your god? refers to a divine being that rules over one and all - Jesus - whom he believes has the power to unite.

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