Discuss the theme of reality vs appearance in Richard III.

Authors Avatar by n-mazhar1hotmailcom (student)

In the play ‘Richard IIII’, Shakespeare shows instances of outward appearances masking inward reality throughout the play. Shakespeare has effectively intertwined the two elements appearance and reality to give the audience a different view and more information than the characters are aware of in the play. The audience can anticipate events that may follow creating dramatic tension. This theme is represented by Richard, however Richards’s right hand man ‘Buckingham’ also plays a major part in it, ‘’My other self, my counsel’s consistory, my oracle, my prophet!’’

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The difference between appearance and reality first shows up when Richard admits to not only himself, but to the audience, that he is a villain, “As I am subtle, false and treacherous”. By admitting to himself that he, Richard, is a villain, he reveals reality, as he has no motive to lie or deceive himself. In this soliloquy, Richard’s motive is not to deceive any other character, but rather to take a step back from his deceptions and to give the audience a glimmer of reality instead of the cloak he feeds to the other characters. This is one of ...

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