Misjudging People In Richard III

Topics: William Shakespeare, Common Man, English Renaissance theatre Pages: 6 (1401 words) Published: April 12, 2016


The fact that the audience works in tandem with the actors on stage to dethrone Richard—or at least desire this dethronement—means they have some power, even if that is just the power of judgment. Phyllis Rackin argues that audience members play just as great a role in judging and misjudging characters within Richard II as any character within the stage. She acknowledges, “There is an extra role in the play not listed in the dramatis personae, a carefully calculated role complete with motivations…designed to be filled by the members of the audience” (263). However important the audience may seem to her argument, though, she also insists, “Shakespeare deliberately alienates us from the action on stage, reminding us that we are, after all, simply an audience in a theatre”...

Certainly Shakespeare is aware of audience and the role they play within the theatre, but I take issue with the idea he wrote Richard II as an exercise in isolating an audience from characters for the sake of reminding them of their lack of participation in the...
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