TERM PAPER IDEAS AND OTHER TOPICS FOR TERM PAPER IDEAS AND OTHER TOPICS FOR WRITING 13. Were the Elizabethans more bloodthirsty or tolerant of violence on stage than we are? In addition to the visible bloodletting, there is endless discussion of past gory deeds. Offstage violence is even brought into view in the form of a severed head. It ” s almost as though such over-exposure is designed to make it ordinary. At the same time, consider the basic topic of the play, the usurpation of the crown of England and its consequences.
These are dramatic events. They can support the highly charged atmosphere of bloody actions on stage as well as off. By witnessing Clarence’s murder, which has been carefully set up, we develop a greater revulsion forts instigator. And even though we are spared the sight of the slaying of the young princes in the Tower, Richard’s involvement before and after is carefully exploited. Every drop of blood referred to on stage or in the speeches helps build the effect Shakespeare wishes to achieve.
The peace which comes after Richard’s death is both a relief and a reward. – 14. The Elizabethan audience knew from the start that Richmond waste become Henry VII, the first Tudor king of England and the grandfather of their own queen, Elizabeth I. As such, he had only to appear victorious at the play’s conclusion. By the time he shows up, matters have progressed to a point where Richard’s downfall is inevitable.
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But what good would victory be if the opposition had merely caved in? Shakespeare had to build Richmond’s importance not only to satisfy history but to fulfill the dramatic development of the plot. By sprinkling his name into the preceding scenes, Shakespeare makes Richmond’s arrival a matter of importance. Once Richmond appears on stage, he never makes a false step or says the wrong thing. If his dialogue sounds slightly flat, it may be a deliberate contrast to that of the fiery, passionate Richard. Here is a man of reason who makes his mark with heroic action rather than words. In the duel scene, Richmond has an opportunity to achieve the stature denied him in speech.
– TEST 2-1. B 2. A 3. B 4.
A 5. B 6. B 7. C 8.
A 9. C 10. B- 11. From the start, Buckingham is only too willing to provide his support for Richard’s schemes. He immediately allies himself with Richard by scorning his exemption from Margaret’s curse.
From then on, he willingly shares the risk for his share of the spoils. Remember, patronage is an important issue. During Edward IV’s reign, Queen Elizabeth saw to it that her relatives and supporters were taken care of. Buckingham saw Richard as his key to prosperity. His insistence on his reward in the face of his hesitation to participate in the killing of the princes leads to his loss ofRichard’s trust- and to his final destiny.
– 12. The actor playing the role of Richard must have great strength to endure the demands of being on stage in so many different situations and for such a long time. But what of the character Richard? Could he have been the successful warrior he is credited with being in the past if he were seriously crippled? Could he have performed the physical demands required by the battle in the final scenes? If he is “unhorsed,’ surely he is capable of riding. And what about his rapid, sudden turns throughout the play? Review the physical action that must accompany so much of his dialogue and see if you think his deformity was as much a handicap as a convenient excuse. The judgment of Hastings is one place where he certainly exploits it, but see if you can find others.
– 13. From the beginning, Richard develops an intimate association with the audience as he shares his innermost thoughts. Couched as a sort of “confessional,’ he confides that he is going to behave wickedly. As such, he virtually invites the audience to come alongwith him as he proceeds with his business.
Periodically, he reviews and recaptures that spirit. Margaret, on the other hand, treats the audience as more of a witness than a partner. She speaks less in soliloquies than in choral recitations. Because so much ofMargaret’s presence is a symbolic as well as an actual reminder of past events, she is less involved in the action.
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Her power rests mainly in her ability to witness the past and predict the future. Those on stage may choose to ignore her, but those out front cannot. – 14. Stanley walks a narrow line throughout the play. Although an easy answer might be that he never actually did anything to oppose Richard, wasn’t his act of withholding support just as harmful? Thesis how Richard saw things when he ordered George Stanley to be beheaded. But can you accept Richard’s judgment? Stanley, more than any other, represents the middle road, or at least a firm commitment to neutrality.
Some may find his professed loyalty to Richard and secret meeting with Richmond enough to condemn him as a traitor. Others may find him the victim of a conscience that allows him to make no open choice. Remember the Stanley who dreamed of impending disaster? Contrast him with the hasty, naive Hastings. TERM PAPER IDEAS AND OTHER TOPICS FOR WRITING- 1. Richard III has been called Shakespeare’s first fully developed character in that we see many sides of his personality.
Do any other characters in this play show more than one side? If so, who? And how? – 2. What part do children play in Richard III? Are they believable? – 3. How important are clergymen, the archbishops, bishops, and priests in Richard III? Are they different from other members of the court? Discuss. – 4. Discuss the role of Buckingham. Is he better or worse, wiser or more foolish than Richard’s other victims? – 5.
Revenge and the quest for justice dominate the action in Richard III. Discuss individual examples and their relevance to this major theme. – 6. Discuss the attitude toward adultery in Richard III. – 7. How successful is the use of stichomythia, the short staccato dialogue used frequently by Richard and others? What effect does it create in the courtship scenes? – 8.
Animal imagery is used repeatedly. What dramatic function doesnt fulfill? – 9. Discuss the importance of the scenes involving common people such as murderers, the scrivener, and the pursuivant? – 10. Richard is a brother, a husband, an uncle, and a son to various characters in the play. Analyze his behavior in each case. – 11.
... the configuration of Richard III is of equal importance as the plot. Shakespeare uses several succesful devices in structuring the play, that make ... Hastings and the Duchess of York all prophesise Richard's nemesis: Margaret: "Sin, death and hell have set their marks upon ... to the play because society today is much less restrained, where dysfunctional families and personalities are discussed a lot ...
We often hear the lamentations of mothers in Richard III, butt here are fathers in the play too. Discuss their relationships to their children. – 12. One objective of Richard III is to conclude the events set inmotion by the first usurpation, the overthrow of Richard II. Do you feel this play explains and wraps it all up successfully? – 13. Compare your own knowledge of the historic Richard withShakespeare’s Richard.
What obvious changes in history did Shakespeare make? Why did he do so? – 14. Corrupt governments can be found in all historical periods. Compare the corrupt administration of either Richard III or Edward IV with a 20 th-century example. – 15.
Although political executions take place throughout Richard III, there is some concern for due process. Cite various examples and discuss their significance to the play as a whole. THE CRITICS- ON RICHARD’S CHARACTER If Richard is something like the Renaissance will incarnate, he is equally, in his total, eager submission to it, evil incarnate. Whatever his lusty attractiveness, we cannot deny that he treats allen, even himself finally, as mere objects. Too late he discovers, to his amazement and confusion, that he too has feelings, is subjective and subjected, in more than will and conscious self-control. Herein lies his repulsiveness.
His is a Dionysianismso passionately self-serving, so deliberate if not cold-blooded, that, corrosive rather than life-giving like the Dionysian at its best, it turns all not only to destruction but to cheapness, ignominy, pointlessness. -Theodore Weiss, The Breath of Clowns and Kings, 1974- The great stories of murder are about men who could not have done it but who did. They are not murderers, they are men. And their stories will be better still when they are excellent men; not merely brilliant and admirable, but also, in portions of themselves which we infer rather than see. Richard is never quite human enough. The spectacle over which he presides with his bent back and his forked tongue can take us by storm, and it does.
It cannot move our innermost minds withthe conviction that in such a hero’s death the world has lost what once had been or might have been the most precious part of itself. Richard is never precious as a man. He is only stunning in his craft, a serpent whose movements we follow for their own sake, because in themselves they have strength and beauty. -Mark Van Doren, Shakespeare, 1939- ON RICHMOND’S FUNCTION The astonishing thing about this play is that until almost the end, there is no sign of a possible antagonist, no visible secular force that can bring the tyrant down. Richmond is not even mentioned until Act IV, and appears in only the last three scenes. He is little more than a deus ex machina let down from above to provide a resolution both for the immediate action of this play and for the long-continued drama of conflict between York and Lancaster.
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-George J. Becker, Shakespeare’s Histories, 1977- RICHARD III AS TRAGEDY Thus Shakespeare pictured the dominating sins in the play as perjury and murder, sins against the moral order. He portrayed and analyzed the passion of ambition that caused Richard to sin and the passion of fear that at the same time punished him for his sins and forced him to wade still further in blood. He inserted non-historical scenes developing the Elizabethan philosophy of revenge.
He used the supernatural to enhance the horror of the play and to contribute tothe impression of a divine vengeance meting out punishment for sin. He showed God’s revenge exacted through the agency of the evil Richard, who was nevertheless to be held to account for his evil-doing. He made use of the pathos of the death of the royal children. These are the common methods of Shakespearean tragedy, and they justify those who hold Richard III to be a tragedy. -Lily B. Campbell, Shakespeare’s “Histories:’ Mirrors of Elizabethan Policy, 1968.
– COMEDY IN RICHARD III Richard’s sense of humor, his function as clown, his comicirreverences and sarcastic or sardonic appropriations of things to (at any rate) his occasions: all those act as under miners of our assumed naive and proper Tudor principles; and we are on his side much rather because he makes us (as the Second Murderer put it) “take the devil in [our] mind,’ than for an “historical-philosophical-Christian-retributional’s ort of motive. In this respect a good third of the play is a kind of grisly comedy; in which we meet the fools to be taken in on Richard’s terms, see them with his mind, and rejoice with him in their stultification (in which execution is the ultimate and unanswerable practical joke, the absolutely final laugh this side of the Day of Judgment).
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-A. P. Rossiter, “Angel With Horns: The Unity of Richard III,’ in Shakespeare, The Histories, ed. Eugene M.
Waith, 1965 ADVISORY BOARD-We wish to thank the following educators who helped us focus our Book Notes series to meet student needs and critiqued our manuscripts to provide quality materials. -Sandra Dunn, English Teacher Hempstead High School, Hempstead, New York-Lawrence J. Epstein, Associate Professor of English Suffolk County Community College, Selden, New York-Leonard Gardner, Lecturer, English Department State University of New York at Stony Brook-Beverly A. Haley, Member, Advisory CommitteeNational Council of Teachers of English Student Guide Series Fort Morgan, Colorado-Elaine C.
Johnson, English Teacher Tamalpais Union High School District Mill Valley, California-Marvin J. La Hood, Professor of English State University of New York College at Buffalo-Robert Becker, Associate Professor of English McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada-David E. Manly, Professor of Educational Studies State University of New York College at Geneseo-Bruce Miller, Associate Professor of Education State University of New York at Buffalo-Frank O’Hare, Professor of English and Director of Writing Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio-Faith Z. Schullstrom, Member, Executive CommitteeNational Council of Teachers of English Director of Curriculum and Instruction Guilderland Central School District, New York-Mattie C. Williams, Director, Bureau of Language Arts Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, Illinois– BIBLIOGRAPHY FURTHER READING-HISTORICAL BACKGROUND-Fraser, Antonia, ed.
The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980. Covers the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV, and Richard III. -Sacco, Peter.
Shakespeare’s English Kings. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. -Seward, Desmond. Richard III, England’s Black Legend.
New York: Franklin Watts, 1984. A strong argument for the traditional view ofRichard as the evil murderer and usurper. -CRITICAL WORKS-Becker, George J. Shakespeare’s Histories. New York: Unger, 1977.
... of the document that became the basis for the modern English constitution? 27. What was the name of the king who ... ? 4. What is the capital of Northern Ireland? 5. The English Channel joins what two bodies of water? 6. Why is ...
A review of the ten history plays and their common themes. -Blank pied, John W. Time and the Artist in Shakespeare’s Early Histories. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1983.
-Campbell, Lily B. Shakespeare’s “Histories:’ Mirrors of Elizabethan Policy. San Marino, California: The Huntington Library, 1968. Detailed review of topical themes. -Rossiter, A.
P. “Angel With Horns: The Unity of Richard III,’ inShakespeare, The Histories, ed. Eugene M. Waith.
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1965. -Till yard, E. M. W. Shakespeare’s History Plays.
London: Chat to &Wind us, 1964. A study of the underlying principles found inShakespeare’s history plays with emphasis on their origins. -Weiss, Theodore. The Breath of Clowns and Kings. New York: Atheneum, 1974. The use of language in Shakespeare’s early comedies and history plays.
-Van Doren, Mark. Shakespeare. New York: Henry Holt, 1939. -AUTHOR’S WORKS-Shakespeare wrote 37 plays (38 if you include The Two Noble Kinsmen) over a 20-year period, from about 1590 to 1610.
It’s difficult to determine the exact dates when many were written, but scholars have made the following intelligent guesses about his plays and poems: -PLAYS-1588-93 The Comedy of Errors 1588-94 Love’s Labour’s Lost 1590-91 2 Henry VI 1590-91 3 Henry VI 1591-92 1 Henry VI 1592-93 Richard III 1592-94 Titus Andronicus 1593-94 The Taming of the Shrew 1593-95 The Two Gentlemen of Verona 1594-96 Romeo and Juliet 1595 Richard II 1594-96 A Midsummer Night’s Dream 1596-97 King John 1596-97 The Merchant of Venice 1597 1 Henry IV 1597-98 2 Henry IV 1598-1600 Much Ado About Nothing 1598-99 Henry V 1599 Julius Caesar 1599-1600 As You Like It 1599-1600 Twelfth Night 1600-01 Hamlet 1597-1601 The Merry Wives of Windsor 1601-02 Troilus and Cressida 1602-04 All’s Well That Ends Well 1603-04 Othello 1604 Measure for Measure 1605-06 King Lear 1605-06 Macbeth 1606-07 Antony and Cleopatra 1605-08 Timon of Athens 1607-09 Coriolanus 1608-09 Pericles 1609-10 Cymbeline 1610-11 The Winter’s Tale 1611-12 The Tempest 1612-13 Henry VIII 360.