King Richard Iii and Looking for Richard

1611 words 7 pages
Essay 1 – King Richard III and Looking for Richard
How has your study of the connections between King Richard III and Looking for Richard deepened your understanding of the context of and values within, each text?
William Shakespeare’s play King Richard III and Al Pacino’s docu-drama Looking for Richard have enriched my understanding of how context shapes the values inscribed within each text. In light of this, the connection that exists between the two texts is: how the central character of the texts embodies the values of theatricality and language in order to attain their own perception of power as shaped by their respective contexts. Whereas Richard III relentlessly pursues political power in the context of a late 16th century
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This in itself has deepened my understanding of how context shapes the values within King Richard III.
The final soliloquy also depicts how the values within King Richard III have allowed it to transcend time and deepen my understanding between how context determines the values. In the final soliloquy, Shakespeare depicts the downfall of Richard and the unravelling of his mind as he is overcome by a state of ambivalence at the “several sins” he has committed. Whereas Richard had previously engaged in the values of language and theatricality to engage in self-fashioning beliefs, Shakespeare provides the audience with a grim reminder about the penalty faced by those who flout with the divinely sanctioned principles of God. Richard’s inner turmoil is made evident as he questions his past actions, “What? Do I fear myself? Is there a murderer here?”. The repetition of rhetorical questions coupled with a short, truncated sentence pattern accentuates Richard’s conflicted state of mind. Whereas Richard had previously used eloquent language that emulated with his confidence in “I am determined to prove a villain”, Shakespeare juxtaposes this with Richard’s crude use of monosyllabic words in “I am a villain. Yet I lie, I am not”. In doing so, the collapse of Richard’s state of mind and in turn, his embodiment of renaissance humanism is exemplified as Shakespeare emphasises the penalties of defying God.
Similarly, Pacino’s self-reflexive


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