Analyse How the Central Values Portrayed in King Richard Iii Are Creatively Reshaped in Looking for Richard

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2010 HSC Question Analyse how the central values portrayed in King Richard III are creatively reshaped in Looking for Richard The work of Pacino is able to creatively place Shakespeare’s core ideals of humanist philosophy and the corrupting influence of power within a modern context, to reveal the perennial nature of the playwright’s central values. Shakespeare’s King Richard III (1592) identifies hereditary power as a potent force when the natural order is usurped. Al Pacino’s Looking for Richard (1996) sees power within a democratic time and thus presents it as privilege, not a God-given gift, yet the two maintain a similar view of the dangers of authority without balance. Shakespeare’s time demanded a negative portrayal of Richard’s humanist ideals, where blame is placed upon the King’s lack of Christianity for his abhorrent acts. Pacino, however, contends with a time where it is increasingly becoming the norm, but still contends with a society that can be considered moral devoid in some manners, and thus the importance of spirituality and thought is evident in both. Pacino is able to effectively portray Shakespeare’s core values in a manner that is able to best serve his context, and the values he aims to present. Within Elizabethan times, power was a hereditary property, not based upon skill, but upon heritage, but still kept in check by the great chain of being. Shakespeare’s Richard usurps this natural order, and thus brings tyranny and corruption upon the Kingdom. From the outset, Richard makes his evil intent clear, noting cynically and declaratively “Since I cannot prove a lover … I am determined to prove a villain,” revealing that power itself has not corrupted him, but the desire for it. It is clear that Richard is aware of his destruction of the Great Chain of Being, when he alludes to the concept, euphemistically noting “God take King Edward
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