King Richard Iii and Looking for Richard

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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 Shakespearean play, Pacino embarks on his desire to enhance and exert his cultural power in a late 20th century America through a hybrid, postmodern rendition of Shakespeare’s play. In the opening soliloquy if King Richard III, the audience is introduced to and captivated by the actor Richard, an antagonist who wields his skills of theatricality and language to strengthen his villainous intentions of marching towards political power: the throne of England. In his Elizabethan context, Shakespeare was the leading figure in the entertainment world, a man who recognised the value of theatre to entertain and educate. He was aware that his audience were well acquainted with the Tudor myths and conventions of theatre and thus, it was within his interests to draw a well-considered line between being artistic and politically astute. In doing so, he allowed Richard III to embody the tension that existed between the more conservative, divinely sanctioned principals of God with elements of emerging Renaissance humanism that suggested an individual could actively engage in self fashioning their own destiny. This would allow Richard III to “clothe his naked villainy” and in turn, foster a charismatic connection that would see him confiding and...
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