In this assignment I am going to discuss the presentation of Richard Duke of Gloucester. I will also loom at the relationships Richard holds with various characters and the audience. In the play Richard III, Shakespeare uses many different techniques and structure in order to have a direct effect on the audience. From the very first scene this comes into action. The opening scene has Richard enter the stage and begin the whole play with an opening soliloquy, enabling the audience to become acquainted with Richards’s character and behaviour.
This is a very powerful tool as it influences how we feel about Richard right from the very start and plays a significant in showing the relationship Richard wants with the audience. We know from the title of the play that Richard is the dominant character, we allow ourselves to be taken in by him. We later on learn that Richard is a very charismatic character, and because of his charm and his enigmatic behaviour we find ourselves captivated by him and for much of the play we can sympathise with him. “And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds To fright the souls of fearful adversaries, He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber” when he says this (if you are reading the text) I found that it came across as if he was being quite resentful and irritated by this fact.
This intrigues the imagination to think of possible reasons as to why he may feel like this, he then goes onto say: “nor made to court an amorous looking-glass; I, that am rudely stamped, and want love’s majesty…deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing word, scarce half made up. ” It is here that we are introduced to Richards’s deformity, from this point for a very short while we can empathise, maybe even sympathise with him, and even try to understand his bitterness: “And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover to entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain”
Later on in Act 1 scene 1, we get to know how duplicative Richard can be, on one hand we have Richard telling the audience that he plans to take over the throne and imprison his brother Clarence, then as soon as Clarence enters he completely adopts a different personality, this sort of relates to a show that Richard is putting on for everybody else, and only the audience can see how he really is: “This day should Clarence closely be mewed up About a prophecy which says that G Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be Dive, thoughts, down to my soul- here Clarence comes! …
Brother good day. What means this armed guard that waits upon your grace? ” This small event really puts a perspective on Richards’s behaviour for me as the reader, I find myself feeling pity and maybe even empathy, but as soon as he goes on to describe his plans about his brother, then to talk to Clarence as if he didn’t know 2 what was happening, seems to me as if Richard knows what he’s doing and is really covering his tracks, so nobody realises it could be him!
All of these little actions that have taken place in the first scene give you a pretty good idea about Richard and his unorthodox behaviour, this is a technique Shakespeare uses quite often, later on in the play we see how he really makes a character look like a worthy nice and pleasant person, and then Richard will advance and commit murder once again. This is created to make us feel strong feelings of hate towards Richard as he carries on and on through his rampage.
Shakespeare uses a form of cyclical structure in his play, this is evident as he starts the play off with a state of euphoria, the war had just been won and peace is regained to the land, he then adds in a bad feeling, this would be Richard entering the stage in any of the scenes. Then there is a disturbance, this would be either a murder or an argument, of which Richard is bound to be at the centre. With this method of writing it ensures that the audience will always be on the edge of their seats.
Also another positive effect of this structure is that no matter how terrible things may get, you always know that good will overcome evil in the end. This is based on Shakespeare’s use of morals in his plays. Richards manipulative behaviour comes into action as soon as Clarence is murdered. Richard uses people hate and anger for others and their selves against each other. I believe that Richard I a very intelligent man and knows how he is going to get what he wants. Furthermore he uses this aspect to manipulate people to get it.
His opinions of women also come into light in act 1 scene 3; this is where he attempts to woo Lady Anne. This strongly shows Richards views on women as being fragile and fickle. This may stem from the fact that he knows his mother is ashamed of what he is, as he is bitter and resentful anyway this makes him react in this way towards women! Whilst Richard (act1 scene 1) is describing how he isn’t made for loving so he will be a villain, this scene proves just how confident Richard is in himself! Proving that he can woo Lady Anne regardless of his appearance gives him a sense of confidence.