Texts are often a reflection of the society they embody: through awareness of context deeper levels of understanding can be developed and explored. By a comparative study of texts parallels in context can be established and evaluated, with the alternate visual mediums key in enhancing the audience experience. Al Pacino’s “Looking for Richard,” (1996) provides a more coherent view of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” (1592), using similarities between texts to accommodate a modern audience. Both texts represent common themes of war, demonstrating the inherent evil of mankind through characterisation, with respective societal influence affecting their portrayal. Shakespeare’s text strongly portrays the presence of propaganda in society, an influence still present in the context of 1996. Through the employment of the visual medium, Al Pacino is capable of displaying these influences to a postmodern audience, demonstrating the similarities in context and purpose. War is a predominant theme in ‘Richard III,’ the ongoing turmoil between the Lancasters and the Yorks in the War of the Roses the premise for the play. The battle (and defeat of Richard) at Bosworth, is the conclusive decider of the text, ending Richard’s reign as King, and setting the Lancasters back on the throne. Looking for Richard portrays the Battle of Bosworth, the employment of the visual medium altering its depiction. In the play the battle and Richard’s murder is a relatively quick affair, the stage direction, ‘they fight. King Richard III is slain,’ the only orated form of violence. Through use of the visual medium however, Pacino is able to dramatize Richard’s final scene, turning Richard’s murder from a lost fight, into an execution. Pacino’s representation of the battle displays views in society at that time; revealed in the numerous ‘vox pops,’ it is shown that the common public are not very knowledgeable of Shakespeare. By extenuating the battle scene Pacino is able to...
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