Integrity In Shakespeare's Richard III

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Shakespeare’s Richard III explores the tension between providentialism and the uprising of free will, as a result of the renaissance, demonstrating Shakespeare’s engagement with political machinations of the state. The political instability within England, which resulted from War of the Roses, has been influential to Shakespeare's text. At the turn of the 15th century with the rise of humanism, Shakespeare responds to the shift in the political paradigms by portraying Richard as a tyrannical king, and exposing the way the state manipulates politics. Richard’s statement “Simple, plain Clarence, I do love thee so, that I will shortly send thy soul to haven” (1.1.119), ironically demonstrates his manipulation of the hierarchical order, exposing…show more content…
The absence of integrity within Richard is displayed though his dual personality, of which he himself is aware of the dichotomy, as he has carefully constructed the façade. Seen through Richard’s personification of his thoughts by commanding them to “Dive, thoughts, down to my soul, here Clarence comes’ (1.1.41), illustrating Richards careful construction of his façade. His physical appearance is presented as associated with evil through the self-fashioning of Richard. He exploits his deformity seen through negative, repetitive, hyperbolic language ‘rudely stamped’, animal ‘that dogs bark at me’ to evoke sympathy and manipulate views upon him. Furthermore, Richards’s duplicity is depicted through his soliloquies and asides. Revealing the power of language that Shakespeare is attempting to depict, as during the Elizabethan era, the audience was well trained in listening and appreciating the various language tropes. Furthermore Shakespeare was also trained in rhetoric, seen when he condemns Hastings, stating, “If I thou protector of this damned strumpet, Tellest thou me of 'ifs'? Thou art a traitor”. (3.4.76) In act two, Richard takes on the role of romancing Lady Anne. The short exchange, using stichomythia between Richard and Anne shows Richards countering of Anne’s responses. When Anne states “O wonderful, when devils tell the truth!” (1.2.74) Countered by “more wonderful when angles are so angry.” Richard also uses antithesis to manipulate Anne. His desire is to merely secure power through Anne “I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long.” (1.2.229). Thus through his relationships, it is apparent the lack of integrity Richard possess and Shakespeare highlights the consequences that result. Shakespeare uses Richard to warn against the dangerous of a tyrannical king exemplifying the importance he places on integrity within

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