King Richard The Third Analysis : Scene 1

1357 WordsOct 29, 20096 Pages
EXTRACT: ACT 1 SCENE 1 Write a detailed commentary on the following passage. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, appears alone on a street outside the tower of London, and announces to the audience with easy confidence his plans to overthrow his brother, King Edward. It is the first scene in the play, setting the mood and atmosphere of the era, and helps the audience to familiarize themselves with Richard’s character, one of daring, boldness and audacity. Richard's first bravura soliloquy is unusual and persuasive. Shakespeare's villains rarely introduce themselves to us so directly with determination this early on in the play. By opening the play with Richard, Shakespeare shows the main character's view of his authority and enables his magnificent villain to draw the audience in. The soliloquy also functions as a kind of induction, with Richard acting the role of chorus. Therefore we are immediately aware of the main character as an actor, and also how Richard is treating the events about to occur like a play- planning to enjoy it. The fact that Richard is a devious actor is a very central idea throughout the play. We also immediately sense that everything that occurs in this drama depends upon Richard and his evil plotting; the play having a central figure as its focus, right from the first line. In lines 1-13, using clever wordplay and strong imagery, Richard describes the change from war to peace and the character of his elder brother Edward. ‘Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York’ has an undertone of mockery at the word glorious, as though it is not really Edward who has made the change. Shakespeare employs lists and repetition, accumulating words or phrases, which intensify description, atmosphere, character and dramatic effect. From lines 6-9, he repeats ‘our’ stressing

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