Distinctive Contexts of Richard Iii and Looking for Richard

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In what ways does a comparative study accentuate the distinctive contexts of King Richard III and Looking for Richard? Both Richard III and Looking for Richard are products of different times. Shakespeare’s Richard III was written in the Elizabethan era where the pursuit of power was becoming strongly evident in fight for the throne. The play itself was set after the significant event; the War of the Roses, which was the battle between the York and the Lancaster. By casting Richard (a York) as a villain Shakespeare is affirming to his Elizabethan audience of the emergent middle class and the nobility of the Tudor’s legitimate right to rule over England. The play also reflects the tension between providentalism and the growing secular interest in free will. This shift from God’s will to free will is particularly evident in the character of Richard as he fights for power and leadership, disregarding his conscience and religion. Al Pacino’s 1996 documentary Looking for Richard produced for an American audience that fails to see how Shakespeare is relevant to the world around them “It has always been a dream of mine to communicate how I feel about Shakespeare to others”. However like Richard III, Looking for Richard was set after another significant conflict in the Cold War. America had emerged from the Cold War against the Soviets the only superpower. In order to achieve economic order after this war, American companies shifted their operations overseas in order to maximise profits at the expense of American citizens who were left out of work. The pursuit of power is paramount in Richard III as Richard is cast as cunning and ruthless villain due determined to obtain power and control. This is due to the context that the play was written in. Queen Elizabeth I, the ruling monarch at the time the play was performed, is a descendant of Richmond, the Lancaster who
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