Paper 2: Module a Richard Iii/Looking for Richard

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Shakespearean Drama and Film
How has your exploration of the connections between your prescribed texts enhanced your understanding of the values and contexts of each? In your response, make detailed references to your prescribed texts.

Through exploring connections between Shakespeare’s Richard III and Al Pacino’s Looking for Richard the values of the era are often a product of the context of the text. However, through studying the theatricality of man and the pursuit of power, it is clear these notions transcend time and context. Shakespeare valued the way an actor could act within a play and theatre was valued in this context. Shakespeare also demonstrated how Richard pursued political power, whilst Shakespeare himself pursued cultural power. Similarly, Pacino demonstrates the power of acting through connecting to an audience, this harnesses cultural power.

King Richard’s ability as an actor within a play explores how this type of villainy was entertaining in the era of Shakespeare. Richard’s evil is immediately established as his moral deformities are clearly embodied in his physical deformities. In justifying his premeditated meddling, he personifies war in his first soliloquy. ‘Grim visag’d war hath supported his wrinkled front’ and moved to caper ‘ nimbly in a lady’s chamber!’ Richard’s nature: ‘Deform’d, unfinished’ thus justifies his evil as he cannot participate in the war -lovemaking atmosphere. This was obviously a form of entertainment to the Shakespearean audience who had known of the war of the Roses and Richard’s deformities.

An example of how Richard’s theatrics thrilled the audience is in the wooing of Lady Anne. By using the dramatic convention of staging a play within a play, he reverses blame on to Anne. His rhetorical flair and histrionics are so powerful that Anne responds with faltering resolve. However, the actor within him is clear, as he ‘reviews’ his success ‘I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long’. Thus...
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