Main Themes In Richard Iii

1116 Words5 Pages
Richard III Richard III is a historical play written to reflect the chaotic events of the War of Roses. However, Shakespeare is careful to do this is a secretive, indirect fashion because of the harsh punishments associated with speaking against the ruling parties. The play presents more than a history lesson. Shakespeare produces an intriguing character, Richard III, who audiences grow to admire as they watch his rise and fall during the course of the play. The appeal of Richard’s character is the most interesting aspect of this play. Several writers have commented on the audience’s attraction to him. Robert Ornstein, in his article “Richard III ,” describes Richard as an “engaging, heroic, honest villain, one who opens his heart to the audience in soliloquies and asides” (pg. 204). Richard is engaging because of his ability, during his ascent to power, to overcome anyone who presents themselves as an obstacle. This gives his character a sense of invincibility. Ornstein comments on this as well. He states that Richard’s enemies “cannot fathom him, but he can play them at sight” (pg. 205). This is achieved by his ability to play every emotion. He can make others think he is on their side and sympathize with them, when in actuality he is plotting against them. A clear example of this is when he speaks with his brother Clarence as he is being arrested as a political prisoner in Act I, Scene I. Richard has spread rumors so the king would be suspicious of Clarence and is responsible for his imprisonment but as he meets him as he is being taken away, he pretends to be sad and furthermore convinces Clarence that the queen is responsible for turning the King against Clarence. He even promises to try to free Clarence, but Richard reveals to the audience that he will make sure that Clarence is executed: Go tread the path that thou shalt ne’er return. Simple, plain

More about Main Themes In Richard Iii

Open Document