'Dangerously alluring', to what extent is this an accurate estimation of Richards Character?

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‘Dangerously alluring’, to what extent is this an accurate estimation of Richards Character?

Richard III. One of the most complex characters in Shakespeare’s various plays. Psychologically, he is an enigmatic individual, who possesses a number of contradictory characteristics, which qualify him as a fantastic villain. He is a man so determined to succeed, that he can almost be perceived as slightly insane. His three dimensional character means that there is a side of him that will appeal to the audience, and absorbs the viewer into his world of madness, irony, and mayhem. There is no other suitable way to characterise Richard, apart from ‘Dangerously alluring’, as I will prove in a psychosomatic analysis of Richard in the play ‘King Richard III’.

One of Richard’s most dangerously alluring characteristics is his manipulative speech. He is undoubtedly the most articulate character in the whole of the play, making him dangerous to encounter. He proves, throughout the play, that, with the aid of his ‘honey words’, he can free himself from any situations that may jeopardise, his plot and thus his path to the throne. One of the most improbable situations, which Richard’s verbal dexterity allows him to escape, is his confrontation with Anne (Act I Scene III), at the funeral of her late husband Edward Prince of Wales, who died at the hands of Richard following the Battle of Tewkesbury. Of course Anne feels pure hate towards Richard because of the pain he has inflicted upon her and her family. In the beginning of their encounter her revulsion towards Richard is evident in the tone of her speech;

‘Foul devil, for God’s sake hence, and trouble us not...’

It is quite clear that Anne holds, in her heart, a passionate hatred towards Richard, as he ruined her family. Other examples of her abhorrence of Richard are the names, to which she refers to him with,

‘...infection of a man’

‘Foul devil...’

‘...thou lump of foul deformity’

The latter insult is very wounding towards Richard as it refers to his deformity, i.e. his withered arm, which he is very aware of, he makes many comments throughout the play about it,

(Act I scene I) ‘Cheating of feature by dissembling Nature’

‘But I, that am not shaped for sporting tricks...’

‘...descant upon my own deformity.’

And thinks himself inferior because of it,

‘...since I cannot prove a lover...’

This reference to Richard’s deformity, by Anne reflects how angry she is. In some parts of the confrontation she even curses him,

‘Either heav’n with lightening strike the murderer dead...’

Previously, before Richard enter the scene she makes many hurtful curses upon Richard and his prospective wife,

‘If ever he have a child, abortive be it;’

‘May fright the hopeful mother at the view ...’

With hindsight it is clear to see how ironic these curses are because Anne ultimately becomes Richard’s wife. Yet how was Anne transformed from hatred, to an ounce of affection, after the crimes Richard has committed against her and her family? Simply, when she finally gives Richard an opportunity to speak, Anne is lured by his dexterity in the art of deceit. He skilfully turns the blame towards, as he claims it was her beauty which drove him towards such heinous crimes,

‘Your beauty was the cause of that effect...’

His disingenuous tactics prove advantageous as slowly but surely she calm, falling a prey to his deception. Allowing Richard time to speak is a fatal error as she lets her guard down and becomes susceptible to his lies.

 At one point he gauges that he has turned her mind from hate to slight affection, and offers her his sword to kill him for his crimes, and to rid him of the pain he feels because of the great ‘affection’ he feels for Anne which is not mutual;

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‘Lo here I lend thee this sharp pointed sword

Which if thou please to hide in this true breast...’

His verbal skill is and obviously has been influential enough to turn Anne’s feelings, and he has picked a key moment to prove his love, as at any point before she perhaps would have gladly buried the sword in his chest. He picks the right moment where she has been stunned and confused by his actions, and the fact that he has offered his sword for Anne to kill him, confirms his ‘true’ feelings for her.

He ...

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