This soliloquy is important to the rest of the play as it shows Richard’s true character – malicious, deformed and cunning. It helps set up the dramatic irony for the rest of Richard’s encounters, because as Richard ‘acts’ we see him for who he truly is. The language that Richard uses is clever, sarcastic and determined. His second line, ‘made glorious summer by this son of York’ is a play on words of Edward being the ‘son’ of York and the ‘sun’ of the glorious summer. From this first line the audience is immediately able to tell that Richard is witty, and clever with the way in which he speaks and phrases his words. He continues on to talk about the King in a somewhat sardonic manner, bringing attention to his ‘sportive tricks’ and amorous pleasures.
Richard continues, objecting to himself that ‘since I cannot prove a lover’ he reveals that he is ‘determinèd to prove a villain’. This quote foreshadows how the rest of the play will pan out, and how Richard is depicted throughout. The most important thing in this quote however, is that this quote shows a logical decision in which Richard has made – therefore his malignity is motiveless. He chooses to be evil, and his only excuse for it is that he is unfortunately deformed.. In his soliloquy, Richard also draws on self-deprecation; he describes to us his deformities in the most gruesome way. This immediately gives the audience prejudice against him. Much has been made of Shakespeare's portrayal of Richard III and how the play and other Tudor-era writings have framed this oft-maligned monarch's brief reign. The opening speech to Richard III sets the tone from the first moment Richard enters the stage. Richard is a curiously—and often sardonically—introspective villain, and his initial soliloquy is tantalizing in the way that it infuses exposition with humanity. It's amazing how much of Richard III has been taken at face value since the play was first performed. In taking his cue from the works of Sir Thomas...
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