Significance of soliloquies and asides in Richard III with reference to Richard's character

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In Richard III, Shakespeare uses soliloquies and asides as a mode of expressing the otherwise internal thought process of a character. They represent dialogues between the mind of the character and the audience and create a sense of intimacy between them as the audience is given access to the internal world of the characters and are able to keep track of and understand the series of events in the play. As a result, soliloquies and asides play a very significant role as they provide the audience with information such as vital background information, straightforward declarations of intent and future plans. They also help to convey a theme, or heighten the tragedy of the play. Asides are particularly used by villains such as Richard to reveal both their schemes and their fraudulence to the audience. As such, it plays a key role in Richard’s character development throughout the play, revealing to us his evil nature and deceitful plots.

Act 1 Scene 1 opens with Richard’s most important, first soliloquy. He starts by taking up the role of a narrator and filling us in on some background information relevant to the story-line of the play so that we will be able to better understand the plot and the cause of his actions. He speaks of his family’s victory in the fight against Henry VI and tells us that his brother Edward, who has recently ascended the throne, is now living the high life “He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber/ To the lascivious pleasing of a lute” (I.i).

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 In addition, he shows us the contrast in his mood and explains to us his inability to be merry due to his physical deformities saying, “But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks/ Nor made to court an amorous looking glass/ ... Have no delight to pass away the time” ” (I.i.14,15,25).Thus, to relieve the boredom and to serve his own ambition, he determines to prove a villain, “subtle, false and treacherous”. This shows us his low self-esteem and dissatisfaction with himself which is evident from his tone of bitterness, anger and disgust as he feels that he is ...

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