Casting a darkly mythical aura around Richard III, supernatural elements are intrinsic to this Shakespearean history play. The prophetic dreams of Clarence and Stanley blur the line between dream and reality, serving to foreshadow impending doom. The ghosts that appear before Richard III and Richmond before their battle create an atmosphere of dread and suspense, and they also herald Richard's destiny. The curses of three female royalties are fulfilled at the end, serving as reminders that the divine powers are stronger than Richard's malice. Together, the supernatural elements of dreams, ghosts, and curses unify the plot of Richard III and allow the divine to triumph over evil.
Dreams can lead even a king awry, as in the case of King Edward IV who ?hearkens after prophecies and dreams? and wrongly locks Clarence up in the Tower (I, i. 53). Thus, Clarence and Stanley?s prophetic dreams are taken somewhat lightly by both characters, even though their dreams not only predict the future, but are also laden with symbolism. Clarence dreams that his brother Richard III causes his drowning at sea. Almost immediately afterwards, Clarence is killed and drowned in a cask of wine by Richard?s hired murderers. His dream paralleling reality, Clarence speaks of the horror and the pain of drowning: ?O Lord! Methought what pain it was to drown,/What dreadful noise of waters in my ears,/What sights of ugly death within my eyes? (I, iv. 21-23). This speech evokes sympathy for Clarence, so that although he too participated in the killing of Edward, the son of Henry VI, he is no longer the main character to blame ? the burden of the atrocious crime is laid upon Richard III, the killer of his own ...
... middle of paper ...
Altering the ?facts? of Richard III?s history, supernatural elements inconspicuously blend into the play and create a strong backbone for the plot. Clarence and Stanley?s dreams bridge the abyss between dream and reality, while the ghosts? appearance lends horror to the play and reminds all that the higher powers will triumph over mortal evils. The curses of the female royalties add psychological and supernatural forces to drive the character?s actions, thus furthering the plot. Dreams, ghosts, and curses ? these supernatural elements all have a natural place in Richard III, for they weave together the fascinating horror in the storyline and ensure that the tyranny of a mortal man will not reign in the end.
Shakespeare, William. Richard III. The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Greenblatt, Stephen. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 1997. 515-596.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Effectiveness of William Shakespeare's Use of Supernatural in the Final Act of Richard III Richard III was written by William Shakespeare and tells the story of how Richard III wants to become king and does everything in his power to get there by assassinating members of his family to do so, for example, the Duke of Clarence, Lord Hastings, Lady Anne, Lord Rivers, the Duke of Buckingham, Henry VI, Prince Edward, Prince Edward V and Prince Richard. The last Act contains many supernatural elements such as ghosts of the people Richard III has murdered or got killed and curses, for example, Buckingham remembering Margaret's curse, prophecies and dreams, a message... [tags: Papers]
935 words (2.7 pages)
- The Contribution of the Supernatural to Richard III During the Renaissance period people were very superstitious and England on a whole was an extremely religious country; people believed in both God and the Devil and Heaven and Hell. They also believed in prophecies, supernatural and curses. A modern audience would have reacted very differently to the play than a Shakespearean audience. The events contained within Richard III must have seemed very real to a Shakespearean audience as it depicts the historical events of the rise and fall of Richard III.... [tags: Papers]
974 words (2.8 pages)
- The Power of Women in Richard III In Shakespeare's The Tragedy of King Richard the Third, the historical context of the play is dominated by male figures. As a result, women are relegated to an inferior role. However, they achieve verbal power through their own discourse of religion and superstition. In the opening speech of Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 1-30 Lady Anne orients the reader to the crucial political context of the play and the metaphysical issues contained within it (Greenblatt, 509).... [tags: William Shakespeare Richard III Richard II]
1485 words (4.2 pages)
- ---1592, time of the plague, witches being burned and hanged and a big belief in evil spirits, but he never goes against what the monarchy of the time believes. In searching for what to write on for the topic of “supernatural,” we figured that, since this is an English class, it would be interesting to write about the use of supernatural in literature. One of the greatest examples of this would be the plays and writings of William Shakespeare. Of all of these works, there are hundreds of allusions to the supernatural and mythology.... [tags: Shakespearean Literature ]
1478 words (4.2 pages)
- The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Works No one questions the fact that William Shakespeare is a pure genius when it comes to creating immortal characters whose characteristics transcends those of the normal supernatural beings, but most students of literature agree that his uses of the supernatural aren’t merely figments of his creative imagination. Every man, woman, and child is influenced by the age into which they are born and Shakespeare was no exception. Not only does his use of supernatural elements within his works reveal the Elizabethans’ obsession with mythical beliefs, but it also reveals his attitude toward these beliefs at different points of his writing career.... [tags: William Shakespeare English Literature Essays]
1740 words (5 pages)
- Shakespeare’s “Richard III” portrays a ‘serious’ yet passionate declaration of love to Anne greatly contrasting with the more solemn and composed confession given by Mr Collins in Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Where Richard III seems to be unable to hold back his feelings Mr Collins appears to quite calmly lay out his reasoning for his proposed match to Elizabeth Bennet. Thus both extracts could be said to be giving us very different depictions of the idea of a ‘declaration of love’. Shakespeare uses hyperbolic language and melodrama in order to exaggerate the supposed love that Richard feels for Anne as he declares that “[Anne’s] beauty, ...did haunt me in my sleep” which can also be desc... [tags: Shakespeare, Richard III]
1344 words (3.8 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Richard III William Shakespeare’s characterization of Britain’s historical monarch Richard III, formerly Duke of Gloucester, is one of the most controversial in literature. To this day there are arguments upholding Richard III’s villainy and ascertaining his murder of the Princes in the tower, just as there are those who believe that he has been falsely represented by Shakespeare’s play and fight avidly to clear his name of any and all crimes. Because of the uncertainty surrounding his true character, Richard III is an intriguing personality to put into modern culture, which is exactly what Ian McKellen does in his rendition of the infamous ruler.... [tags: William Shakespeare Richard III Essays]
843 words (2.4 pages)
- Shakespeare on Machiavelli: The Prince in Richard III According to many, Shakespeare intentionally portrays Richard III in ways that would have the world hail him as the ultimate Machiavel. This build up only serves to further the dramatic irony when Richard falls from his throne. The nature of Richard's character is key to discovering the commentary Shakespeare is delivering on the nature of tyrants. By setting up Richard to be seen as the ultimate Machiavel, only to have him utterly destroyed, Shakespeare makes a dramatic commentary on the frailty of tyranny and such men as would aspire to tyrannical rule.... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays Shakespeare]
1505 words (4.3 pages)
- The Evil King in Shakespeare's Richard III Richard is an actor, a fully evil actor, who through his mastery of the stage has come to appreciate his skill. Richard Moulton, in his Shakespeare as a Dramatic Thinker, proclaims Richard's wonder at his own command of the stage: "Richard has become an artist in evil: the natural emotions attending crime-whether of passionate longing, or horror and remorse-have given place to artistic appreciation of masterpieces" (40). And Robert Weimann, comparing Richard Gloucester to a character in Shakespeare's King John states: "Both characters exemplify a strenuous need to perform, 'toiling desperately' to play a role, 'to find out,' and, for better or wor... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
1880 words (5.4 pages)
- Sun Imagery in Shakespeare's Richard III Shakespeare's Richard III is a play pervasive in figurative language, one of the most notable being the symbolic image of the sun and the shadow it casts. In an examination of a short passage from the text, it will be argued that Richard is compared to a shadow in relation to the sun, which has traditionally been held as a symbol of the king. The passage is significant not only because it speaks volumes about the plots of Richard, but also because it is relevant in understanding the overall plot of the play, which in the first few acts is almost indistinguishable from the plot of the scheming Duke of Gloucester.... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
609 words (1.7 pages)
- A Rewrite of the Ending (Chapter XX) of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Idealism in Auden’s O who can ever gaze his fill, Out on the lawn I lie in bed (A Summer Night 193
- Love Lost - Female Submission in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Seduction and Lust in Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market
- Power Play in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame
- The Journey of Self-discovery Brian Moore's The Luck of Ginger Coffey