King Richard III Essay

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As many critics have observed, Richard III is filled with oaths, curses, and prophecies. E. M. W. Tillyard argues that they are an expression of the play's theme of divine retribution, where the punishment of the feuding families, the destruction of Richard, and the final union of the houses of Lancaster and York are predestined. Margaret, who dispenses a significant portion of the curses and prophecies against the other characters in the play, is described by A. C. Hamilton as the "present witness to previous wrongs" and the embodiment of destiny and revenge.

Critics such as Frances Shirley and David Bevington have pointed out that the other characters inadvertently help to fulfill Margaret's prophecies by making false or imprudent oaths and thus cursing themselves: When, for example, Richard swears by his success as a king and warrior that he means well to Elizabeth and her family, his false...

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This section contains 964 words
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Buy the King Richard III Study Guide
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Shakespeare for Students
King Richard III from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.