King Richard Iii Commentary

Published: 2021-07-24 02:35:06
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Shakespeare presents Richard’s downfall through an unusually resentful tone as well as successfully utilizing certain poetic devices to emphasize the mood and message. The first section, from lines 178 to 182, shows Richard’s state fresh out of his nightmare. Here, he is still processing what had occurred and commenting on his state physically. The first line; “Give me another horse! Bind up my wounds! ” is said by Richard unconsciously as it is his first reaction to the nightmare. This clause actually foreshadows Richard’s situation during the battle at Bosworth where his horse is slain, leaving him at a disadvantage by battling on foot.
The usage of exclamation points in this line and also in the next line, “Have mercy, Jesu! ” shows how the effects from the ghosts’ visits still lingered in Richard, causing him to answer in short, bold sentences. This is the first time in the play where he cries out with such fear. In line 179, Shakespeare utilizes (a-pos-si-oh-pee-sis); “Have mercy, Jesu! – Soft, I did but dream”. This shows the change in atmosphere as Richard realizes he was only dreaming. The anxious, terror-stricken atmosphere suddenly weakens into a distressed one.
He regains full consciousness but the rest of the passage shows how he is not the same confident villain he once was. This can be perceived for the first time in line 180, where Richard accuses his conscience for the unpleasant dreams shown by an apostrophe, personifying his conscience as cowardly. In lines 181 and 182, Richard says “It is now dead midnight. / Cold, fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh”. A distressed tone is well set here by utilizing the words “dead”, “cold”, “fearful” and “trembling”. This creates the dark atmosphere that surrounds Richard’s current condition.
This portrays the extent of the fear Richard has experienced in his dream as he uses morbid words. This line also shows how Richard’s fear has not only taken over him inside, but it has also gone to the extent to be revealed on the outside. Throughout the play, Richard has controlled his emotions completely to act as the Machiavel, but this line shows his high confidence deteriorating, exposing the weakness in him. The next section of this passage, from lines 183-193, shows Richard arguing with his conscience after realizing that he himself is the reason of his fear.
The tone and the structure changes as Richard starts to question himself while hoping to prove that there is nothing to fear. After carefully analyzing his character, he finally finds that he has become something so sinister that he fears himself. Shakespeare utilizes (hie-pah-for-uh) throughout this section. For example, in line 185, Richard says “Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am”. First, he answers his question with a flat and distinct “No” but then truthfully contradicts this exclamation with “Yes, I am”. He cannot lie to himself about what he truly is as he undeniably knows that he is alone in the room.
The troubled questions and short, forceful answers create a very staggered speech showing the hesitation and uncertainty in Richard. In line 192, Richard states that he is now a villain; “I am a villain. Yet I lie. I am not. ” In the beginning speech of Richard III, Richard tells the audience that he will “prove a villain” and now, after analyzing himself, he realizes that he has successfully proved himself. But he hesitates, he is uncertain about this acceptance as he tells himself “Yet I lie. I am not”. Instead of congratulating himself and gloating about his success, he wants to deny this.
This can be compared to Richard’s reaction and character after he successfully deceives Lady Anne into falling in love with him. He was more than proud of his villainy and did not hesitate one second to hide it. His robust, spirited personality is entirely changed in this passage as he now resents the crimes he committed. In the next line, Richard says “Fool, of thyself speak well. Fool, do not flatter” which in this clause, Shakespeare utilizes anaphora as well as (an-tith-e-ses) together to get Richard’s message along.
So far, from what he has already said, his confidence has obviously dropped dramatically as he continued to look further into his past actions. Therefore, when he says “Fool, of thyself speak well”, he is comforting himself, trying to regain his posture as a villain. But he then balances this phrase out by saying “Fool, do not flatter”. The use of antithesis shows Richard’s cunning and undeniably smart character once again as he regulates himself so that he will not go overboard with comforting himself. Also, the use of anaphora on the word “Fool” allows the audience to be certain Richard is referring to the same part of his conscience.
It also shows how Richard perceives himself at that moment which is vulnerable and weak. But this line altogether shows how Richard is in such a weak state that he goes through the trouble to not only comfort himself, but also to remind himself not to gloat. In the next section (194-200), Richard moves on from arguing with his conscience, to thinking about the crimes he has committed. The section starts with a metaphor comparing his conscience with a creature with several tongues showing that there are many different voices in Richard’s conscience.
This line ties in with the next two lines smoothly with the help of (an-uh-dip-lo-sis). The word “tongue” is brought up again in the beginning of the next line which is followed by reiterating the word “tale” from the end of the last line. These lines also lead to a climax; the tongues of Richard’s conscience all have a tale to tell which overall accuses Richard for a villain. Opposite from the recently mentioned lines, lines 197-199 use epistrophe to emphasize the different ways the word “degree” is used to portray how he is accused of murder and sinned on.
This last part of this section displays how Richard knows how people perceive his villainy which he himself finds terrifying. He now understands his guilt which he could not have before his revelation. The last section of this excerpt starts at line 201 and ends at 207. The tone of Richard in this section turns pessimistic as he resides to accepting his misery. He knows that he is genuinely hated and he accepts this. “There is no creature loves me, / And if I die no soul will pity me”. Here, Richard clearly states how not even a creature or a soul so much as pities him.
He also realizes that he does not even expect pity as he has no pity for himself. This brings to show how Richard’s insensitivity has come back. He is slowly regaining his posture as an apathetic villain. Finally, the re-hardened Richard comes to full play in the last few lines (from 205-207) of this passage which is shown through its stable structure. “Methought the souls of all that I had murdered / Came to my tent, and every one did threat / Tomorrow’s vengeance on the head of Richard” The speech is ot once broken and he confidently dictates it in full comprehensive sentences displaying the full recovery of Richard as the machiavel. This passage gives the audience the final hint that Richard’s downfall is unavoidable. Even though he did recover from his largest obstacle, back to the strong and confident villain he once was, it was in-ev-it-able for this scene to be fully forgotten. Richard’s speech in this scene displays the ultimate breakdown of his fearless character which takes part of molding his future in the play.

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