This aspect of his character makes him the consummate

This preview shows page 10 - 11 out of 11 pages.

hypocrite, which is, in fact, the original Greek term for an actor.The other characters represent abstract values and traditional pieties—and they are more stylized and rhetorical and artificial than Richard. That’s perhaps one reason why he seems so appealing in spite of his villainy.From the beginning of the play he is apart from all the others. One thing to note in his famous opening soliloquy is the way in which he shifts from the royal “we” to “I” at line 14.Laurie E. Maguire points out that Richard’s primary relationship is not with any of the other characters in the play, but with the audience: “we are cast as accomplices through his confidences” again a morality play Vice trick (Maguire 94).Richard constantly plays with words, with character, and with history—that’s what makesthe play so enjoyable—its inherent playfulness. At lines 28-31 he uses a “rhetorical trick” that is “typical” of his strategies in the play: the fallacy of the false alternative (Maguire 94).In the second scene of the play—at 1.2.183, he says to Lady Anne, “Take up the sword again, or take up me” (Maguire 94). Maguire argues that “Richard can never be a successful king because he istoo aware of the division between himself and the role (and, hence, of the division within himself)” (Maguire 95). One aspect of this division is between his ability to play with language and his inability to experience real emotions—such as grief or remorse.
11Works CitedBesnault, Marie-Hélène and Michel Bitot. “Historical legacy and fiction: the poeticalReinvention of King Richard III.” The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’sHistory Plays. Ed. Michael Hattaway. Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress, 2002. 106-125.Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.14thed. By Ivor Evans. London:Cassell, 1990.Garber, Marjorie. “Descanting on Deformity: Richard III and the Shape of History.”Shakespeare’s Histories. Ed. Emma Smith. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. 42-66.Howard, Jean E., and Phyllis Rackin. Engendering a Nation: A Feminist Account ofShakespeare’s Histories. New York: Routledge, 1997.Maguire, Laurie E. Studying Shakespeare: A Guide to the Plays. Oxford:Blackwell, 2004.Paris, Bernard J. Character as a Subversive Force in Shakespeare: The History andRoman Plays. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1991.Pierce, Robert B. Shakespeare’s History Plays: The Family and the State. N.p.: OhioState University Press, 1971.Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Richard III. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat andPaul Werstine. New York: Washington Square Press, 1996.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture