King Richard III Essay

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A number of critics have examined the types of comedy present in Richard III and have speculated about why so much of it exists in what is otherwise a grim play. William E. Sheriff points out that although there are no scenes that contain "outright comedy," there are many which become comedic as the result of dramatic irony. (Dramatic irony occurs when the audience understands the real significance of a character's words or actions but the character or those around him or her do not.) Thus Richard's commiseration with Clarence as he is being led to prison in Act I, scene i, becomes comedic because Richard has just informed us that he is responsible for having Clarence jailed in the first place. Sheriff suggests that such humor is there to lighten what would otherwise be dry history already well-known to its Elizabethan audience.

Ronald Berman looks at the...

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This section contains 5,888 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.