Language as a Political Tool in Richard Iii

Topics: Richard III of England, Persuasion, Tower of London Pages: 3 (1043 words) Published: March 27, 2012
“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murderers respectable…” (Orwell, 1946). In politics, politicians use their language skills as a power tool to swipe away their competitors and to gain the support of the commoners on a regular basis. When government budgets disappear, MPs would often blame others. One would doubt that Rob Ford would still be in the Toronto mayoral race if he did not have strong language skills to get him out of his drug and assault accusations. In the setting of King Richard III, the power of political language is no different than today. Royals and nobles will do whatever they can with their tongue to get what they want, often with success. The language utilized in the play serves as a powerful political tool for Richard of Gloucester. Richard uses his language skills for persuading key figures, accusing innocent adversaries of crimes and for spreading false prophecies for his competitors.

The power of persuasion is Richard of Gloucester’s main weapon to persuade people for political purposes, and in this case, to become king. In Act one scene two, Richard made a venturous attempt to persuade Lady Anne into marrying him, despite the fact that Richard has killed her father-in-law and her husband. At that time Lady Anne is carrying her beloved husband’s corpse to the cemetery while cursing Richard of his crimes, then Richard abruptly intrudes and begins to woo her. Richard shows excellent skills of persuasion in his witty language, he is able to take Lady Anne’s scornful curses and return it in a flattering manner. When Anne is first being wooed by Richard, she is extremely furious at Richard’s attempt to flatter her in a gloomy situation like this, so she calls Richard a devil by saying “Oh wonderful, when devils tell the truth” (1.2.73). However Richard uses his clever language skills to take the words and returns with “More wonderful, when angels are so angry,” (1.2.74). As Anne throws insults at Richard, he is...
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