King Richard III Essay

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Most critics agree that Richard is a Machiavellian villain (Machiavellianism is a precept that considers politics amoral and claims that any means, however unscrupulous, are justified in achieving and holding onto power). They also agree that he is witty-frequently poking fun at himself as well as at his victims. But critics are divided on the nature of Richard's wickedness, on his motives, and ultimately, on his purpose in the play.

Francis Fergusson asserts that Shakespeare was not interested in exploring the psychological state of the historical Richard, but in creating a Richard for the stage who is an irresistible comic villain. Morton J. Frisch acknowledges that Richard is a fascinating character who attracts us "almost against our will." But Frisch chooses to examine Richard's motives and state of mind, and remarks that Richard's quest for power is pointless because he has no idea what he wants to do...

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This section contains 1,813 words
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King Richard III from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.