Richard The Third Essay
When considered together the texts in module a provide us with rich insights into human condition. IN what ways is the complexity of human experience explored in comparing the two texts you have studied in this modules.
Human condition is defined as the positive and negative aspects of existence as a human being. In Shakespeare’s ‘King Richard III’, human condition is shown throughout the play through the words of the characters, but most noticeable is through antagonist Richard and how he is power-hungry, also Shakespeare’s need to perpetuate the Tudor Myth.
While in ‘Looking for Richard’ Al Pacino’s 1996 docu-drama human condition is shown through Al Pacino and the reasons as to why he wanted to create Looking For Richard, these reasons include wanting to revive Shakespeare and also to bring Shakespeare and Richard the Third to a Modern audience, as Pacino states, ‘It has always been a dream of mine to communicate how I feel about Shakespeare to other people… and taking this one play Richard the third analysing it approaching it from different angles,… we could communicate both our passion for it our understanding that we’ve come to and in doing that communicate a Shakespeare that is about how we feel and think today’.
Shakespeare portrays Richard’s cunningness through his soliloquies and asides as they show his deceptive nature. Richard’s way of speaking, whilst is revealed to be ingenious, as he is shown to use intelligent word play, he is ultimately cast as the Machiavellian character from the beginning of the play “determined to play a villain”. Richard always blames his appearance for the immoral acts he commits ‘deformed, unfinished, set before my time’, this shows Richards negative nature and foremost his negative human condition.
Richard’s Machiavellian nature climax’s when his brother Clarence is sent to the tower to be murdered. Any feelings of sympathy towards Richard from his first soliloquy are completely abolished when he talks to his brother Clarence. Richard appears to have no idea what is going on and innocently asks “Brother, good day. What means this armed guard that waits upon your grace?” Clarence claims that their older brother, the King Edward has sent him to the tower to be killed, however ironically, it was Richard what had persuaded Edward to send Clarence to the tower.
Richard then tries to act like the loving brother “Brother farewell… this deep disgrace/ Touches me deeper than you can imagine’. This showing Richard’s indefinite two-faced nature and the way in which he embodies the Machiavellian Villain. The values that Shakespeare incorporates in ‘King Richard III’, help shape the way in which people of the twentieth century think about Richard III and Shakespeare. The values which include language, religion,
Pacino’s Film ‘Looking for Richard’ reflects human condition and human experience as Pacino tries to create a Shakespeare that is more accessible to a twentieth century audience. Though people might suggest that the reasons behind this film, is so that Pacino could broadcast himself to the world, this in a sense portrays himself as a egocentric human, despite the fact that this could be disputed Pacino main aim is to bring Shakespeare across to a modern audience.
The film begins and end with a voiceover quoting Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, this justifies the postmodern inconclusiveness of the twentieth century “our actors… all spirits…this insubstantial pageant…such stuff that dreams are made on…our little life is rounded with a sleep.” The values that Pacino tries to incorporate in ‘Looking for Richard’ are identical to the values that Shakespeare had in the Elizabethan period, whether it be language as the Black Pan Handler states,’ ’We should speak like Shakespeare… Because then we would have feeling.’ But values such as religion that is left out, is left out, so that it would be more applicable to life in the Twentieth Century.
Thus the complexity of human experience is further portrayed, in the cunningness of Richard and how Richard represents the evil in humanity, the greed and need for humans to be at the top of The Great Chain of Being. Shakespeare’s portrayal of Richard helps us, as an audience see how a human can kill, can turn into a ‘boar’ just to gain power. The atrocious human nature of Richard can be seen in his opening soliloquy when he says,’ I am determined to prove a villain?And hate the idle pleasures of these days, Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,?By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,?To set my brother Clarence and the king In deadly hate the one against the other:?And if King Edward be as true and just?As I am subtle, false and treacherous’.
Again we see Richard’s flagitious nature in Act 4 Scene 1 when Richard asks first of Buckingham to kill the Children, but Buckingham having reached his waist in blood can not, and will not kill the children; so Richard calls on Tyrell to kill the Children when Tyrrel says: ‘Ay, my lord;?But I had rather kill two enemies’ replying Richard says, ‘Why, there thou hast it: two deep enemies,?Foes to my rest and my sweet sleep’s disturbers?Are they that I would have thee deal upon Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.’, the bastards being the children.
This shows the most sinister of human nature and that one person would kill children, humans on the most innocent nature, to become king. In conclusion, Human nature and Human condition are explored extensively in both Richard III and Looking for Richard. In this way we as the audience feel and understand how complex human nature and human condition is.