Richard Iii A Tragedy Essay

1760 words - 7 pages

Richard III, a tragedy or not a tragedy?As it has been proved throughout the centuries, when it comes to classifying William Shakespeare's plays it is hard to notice a clear-cut division regarding the literary genres. As a matter of fact, the play Richard III is no exception to that rule. Indeed, although it has been discussed by literary critics whether this play should be included within the Histories or the Tragedies, Richard III has been commonly classified into the first tetralogy of Shakespeare's history plays. However, it is self-evident that this is a play comprising aspects proper to a tragedy. This paper will discuss the relationship between Richard III and the archetype of a tragedy, highlighting some of the most outstanding elements in the play proving this play can also be regarded as a tragedy.The concept of tragedy is too broad to establish a single definition. However, it can be easily distinguished from what a history is. Indeed, as Lily B. Campbell (1964, p. 307) stated, "tragedy deals with an ethical world; history with a political world. In tragedy God avenges private sins; in history the King of kings avenges public sins". Richard III does deal with the political affairs of England after the War of the Roses, but although it has the features of a history play, the main objective of this play is not only depicting national history. In fact, Richard III is much more universal than a mere history play could suggest; it is a play containing a dramatic and poetic strength that goes beyond the factual events.Turning now towards the notion of tragedy, this play presents aspects of that literary genre. The main tragic aspect of the play is Richard, who can be seen as a tragic hero, and who "fills the centre [of the play] entirely" (Gervinus 1849, vol. I, p. 375). As regards the figure of the tragic hero, a lot has been written about this topic but it can be regarded that Richard fits the Aristotelian conception of the tragic hero. In this sense, it is worth mentioning that, although Richard commits terrible actions, he cannot be viewed as a mere villain since he meets the three Aristotelian features of a tragic hero. According to these characteristics, the tragic hero has to be "of higher than ordinary moral worth" (Abrams 1999, p. 322), has to experience a "change in fortune" (Abrams 1999, p. 322) leading to misery, and has to undergo a downfall as a result of "his mistaken choice of action" (Abrams 1999, p. 322). The latter stage is also known as hamartia, that is, the tragic flaw of the character.These three elements are confirmed in the play. Indeed, Richard is a character of noble birth, who later becomes king. He is victim of his own tragic flaws, which entail a "change in fortune" leading to his own downfall. In fact, Richard loses all of his power and dies at the end of the play because of his own flaws. This ending is actually the result of the abovementioned "hamartia", that is, the error of judgement. Richard's tragic...

Find Another Essay On Richard III a tragedy

Importance of Speech in Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard III

2441 words - 10 pages Importance of Speech in Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard III Speech is often the strongest indicator of personality and motivation in Shakespearean histories and comedies. Each turn of phrase is a small insight into the essence of the character. Stringing together each line from the mouth of the character allows the audience to discover each nuance created by Shakespeare. By connecting the actions to a

'Richard is a truly evil character with no justification for his actions'. To what extent do you agree with this assessment of Richard's character in Shakespeare's Richard III?

834 words - 3 pages actions, it is his last minute regret which causes me to believe that he isn't truly evil.Richard shows in many situations throughout the play Richard III that he is an evil character. His arranging for the death of Clarence, and his treatment of Lady Anne are clearly evil acts. Considering this however, he still manages to maintain justification for his actions, based on a hatred of his own deformity, and a powerful desire to become King of England

The life of Richard the III of England, and a defense of his so-called "crimes" as accused by Shakespeare and the Tudor/Lancasters. With footnotes and bibliography

1749 words - 7 pages "For over 500 years the last Plantagenet King of England has been vilified as a usurper, a murderer, a monster but the tide is turning... Richard III lost the battle of Bosworth but" this writer "aims to win the war in rescuing his reputation."#In 1485, a " diluted Lancaster,"# King Henry VII, came to the throne, the fifth King in sixty-three years. His claim to the throne was his marriage to the daughter of a discredited marriage, Elizabeth of

An Absence of Morality

774 words - 4 pages third and final example of Richard being immoral in his methods of securing the throne is his exceptional ability to manipulate people to do as he wishes. Works Cited Shakespeare, William, Barbara A. Mowat, and Paul Werstine. The Tragedy of Richard III. New York: Pocket, 1996. Print.

Richard Loncraine’s Rendition of William Shakespeare’s Richard III

972 words - 4 pages Richard Loncraine’s rendition of William Shakespeare’s Richard III is memorable in its appeal to modern viewers partly because it relocates the action of the play to a fantasized Nazi Germany-styled England of the 1940s, rather than keeping fifteenth-century England as the setting as Shakespeare originally intended. But while this approach undoubtedly allows the story of Richard III to be broadcasted to a more diverse audience, its total

A Hero, a King, and a Daemon

1178 words - 5 pages . Richard, a corrupted, yet charming character, is the hateful protagonist and soul of the tragedy of Shakespeare’s Richard III. He reaches the almighty position of his objective while attracting the eyes of the audience and society. He fulfills his promised objective with guiltless sins, which lack any moral ethics and tradition: he willingly takes down entire families in the construction of his bloody pathway to kingship. Filled with scorn

A hero, A King, A demon

1226 words - 5 pages . Richard, a corrupted, yet charming character, is the hateful protagonist and soul of the tragedy of Shakespeare’s Richard III. He reaches the almighty position of his objective while attracting the eyes of the audience and society. He fulfills his promised objective with guiltless sins, which lack any moral ethics and tradition: he willingly takes down entire families in the construction of his bloody pathway to kingship. Filled with scorn against

The Scrivener and History in Richard III

2602 words - 10 pages creates the biased depiction of history that influences Richard III. The full title of the quarto edition of Shakespeare’s play is The Tragedy of King Richard III, which differs from the titles of the Henry VI plays, which are simply titled the “first part,” “second part,” and so on. This difference marks a contrast between how the configuration of the history in Richard III relates to hi construction of other texts. Shakespear continues the plotline

William Shakespeare's Richard III, the Duchess of York

1008 words - 5 pages after his death. She tries to protect them and embrace both the children and Queen Elizabeth. In order for Duchess to be a good mother to Richard III she has to remain patient, hide her pain toward him in the eye of public, and avoid cursing him. According to play we see the emotions that taken place when the children, Duchess of York and Elizabeth arrived to discuss the tragedy that happens to Clarence and to her husband with Duchess of York

Connections Between Richard the third and looking for richard

1311 words - 5 pages through exploring Al Pacino's Docu-drama 'Looking For Richard', William Shakespeare's Historic-tragedy 'Richard III' and studying an interview with Sir Ian McKellen, it is made evident that to truly understand the importance of the context, character and perceptions of a text, one must first makes connections between the two texts and also with their respective audiences. It is seen through Al Pacino's attempts to make modern day analogies to the

History and Tragedy in Shakespeare's Richard II

2246 words - 9 pages History and Tragedy in Richard II         An attempt to sort Shakespeare's plays into neat categories may appear to have its benefits when striving to understand his work, but even a superficial reading of Richard II indicates that this approach is largely futile and sometimes misleading. While it cannot be doubted that the play is of a historical nature, based on events recorded in Holinshed's Chronicles of 1577 and named after an

Similar Essays

Richard Iii: The Tragedy Of Isolation

1210 words - 5 pages   The real tragedy of Richard III lies in the progressive isolation of its protagonist.   From the very opening of the play when Richard III enters "solus", the protagonist's isolation is made clear. Richard's isolation progresses as he separates himself from the other characters and breaks the natural bonds between Man and nature through his efforts to gain power. The first scene of the play begins with a soliloquy, which emphasizes

Richard Iii: A Ruthless King Essay

1408 words - 6 pages Richard III is known to this day as a ruthless king, remaining infamous for his alleged murders and nefarious acts. There are many rumors surrounding his rule, telling stories of his horrid temperament and appearance, and how he unscrupulously killed anyone who might oppose his reign. But modern historians are taking another look at his history, and some say he was not as bad as the stories claimed. Despite Richard III’s notoriety and bloody

How Maliciousness In Richard Iii Cannot Be Portrayed Through A Stripped Down Play

935 words - 4 pages It is difficult to fully comprehend the idea of malice. Some might say that a human can only truly comprehend malice if they experience it first. Dictionary.com defines malice as:1.A desire to harm others or to see others suffer; extreme ill will or spite.2.The intent, without just cause or reason, to commit a wrongful act that will result in harm to another.As we have talked about in class and in most literature critiques, Richard III is

A Study Of The Dramatic Roles Of Women In Richard Iii

1666 words - 7 pages There are five female characters in the play Richard III. Of these five there are four central female characters; the Duchess of York, Richard's mother; Anne who later becomes Richard's wife; Queen Margaret who was the former queen and Richard's arch enemy and Queen Elizabeth, the current queen. The final female character who plays a minor role in the play is Queen Elizabeth's daughter, Elizabeth, but she is merely