Monday, October 22, 2012

Richard III- Another one of Shakespeare's two-faced Assholes

As we enter into another one of Shakespeare's plays "Richard III," we immediately get this deceitful and sneaky tone as Richard III opens the play with a powerful and straightforward speech about his unhappiness and his plans to change the way he feels and is perceived. He explains to the audience that he is a terrible lover and is very unhappy, forcing him to ruin the happiness of others. If he can't be happy than no one else can be either, especially his two brothers Clarence and King Edward. Right off the bat Richard tells the audience exactly how he feels and what he plans to do to others: “Therefore since I cannot prove a lover / To entertain these fair well-spoken days, / I am determined to prove a villain / And hate the idle pleasures of these days” (I.i.28–31). He also tells us of his desire to become King and to ruin his brothers lives in the process of obtaining this power. As I started to try and understand Richard and the forces behind his deceitful actions towards his brothers, I wondered what really made him so bitter about the power his brother holds. I understand he is the youngest and therefore is the last of the brothers to receive a powerful position in the House of York, but to plan to murder his brothers seemed a little intense and harsh for such a reason. Although he gives the audience an opening speech explaining his intentions and plans, it seems like there is much more where this pain and resent is coming from. Why is Richard as bitter as he is?

Just as we saw in Iago's character, Richard III also is successful in his evil doings with the help of his two-faced personality. As he speaks the "truth" to the audience he completely changes his attitude and personality as the other actors step onto the stage. Richard's dual personality assists him as he successfully begins to get his way in the play. His language is believable and interesting as he is constantly changing his personality, depending on who is around him and who he is talking to. Act one sets us up with a foreshadowing a play full of drama, schemes, alliances and deceitfulness.


Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with your comparison of Iago and Richard III as two of Shakespeare's most delusive villains. It's almost uncanny how similar the two are, at least from what we've seen of Richard so far. Iago's line from Act II, scene iii—"And what's he then that says I play the villain? / When this advice is free I give and honest"—echoes Richard's line you highlighted. As "ssomer"'s blog said (sorry for forgetting his/her name), Richard's use of language is his weapon, much like Iago's. It'll be interesting to see how Richard's character evolves and how else he utilizes his language to assist in enacting his villainous intent.

Anonymous said...

I also forgot to mention how the question you pose (why is Richard as bitter as he is?) can be asked about Iago, too. What is his motive for being such a villain and ruining everybody's life? I'd say that Shakespeare is definitely trying to make a statement on excessive ambition with these two characters, Richard and Iago.

Kaitlyn Schleicher said...

I agree- I also wonder what made him so angry. After all, he is planning to kill 4 of his kinsmen for a position of power! However, though I ponder the reason, I believe that there really is no reason that could possibly justify his actions. Right now, he just seems like a power hungry villain. I look forward to what the rest of the play has in store for us.