Shakespeare/Richard III term paper 12576

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What Richard III did was Right, or Wrong King Richard III, in my opinion, was a

greedy, yet determined man who would do whatever it took to achieve the position

of king of England. What he did to get to this position was wrong, however, how

he went about achieving what he wanted shows that he had intelligence. Having to

kill a family member to get to where he wanted to be, did not even stop him. I

believe that him doing this was very dishonorable. Even the book, Shakespeare

and the Renaissance Code of Honor says “dishonor is worse than death.” In

this same book I found a piece of information saying “If the renaissance

aristocracy loved and pursued honor intensely, and with it’s whole being. It

follows logically that dishonor was the one thing in life which could not be

tolerated.” Another quote from the same book on honor says “Since honor was

so highly esteemed not only to one’s own life, but also the lives of those

close and dear to oneself, might be sacrificed in order to maintain one’s

reputation”, which is almost exactly what Richard did. As stated above, in my

opinion, I think that what Richard III did to achieve his position was wrong,

but he does have a massive amount of intelligence to be able to pull off his

master plan. His goal is to become the King of England, and he would go to any

means necessary to get this. Although what he did proved to be morally in

correct, the also proved to be intelligent ideas. For example, he sees a path he

can take that will lead him right to the thrown, but his brother, Clarence, is

next in line to inherit it. What Richard does to prevent this from happening is

he has his own brother murdered. That, in my views, is one of the most

dishonorable things he does in the play. Yet he executes this plan very wisely.

The reason behind this being that he hired two hit-men to do it for him, and the

authorities have no way of pinning this crime on Richard. From one internet site

Richard in the Mirror of the Centuries, it says, “Shakespeare’s

characterization of Richard III has been accepted as a historical portrait – a

portrait of the most wicked of English kings. The question is, whether this is

not rather exaggerated?” After reading further in this document, I find that

it blatantly says “From the very first beginning, in the opening soliloquy,

Richard tells the spectators about his own wickedness and he really does prove a

villain! He verifies the impression we get in the first scene throughout the

drama by acting and thinking the way he does. Always doing what he was

“promised” before, he appears to be an unscrupulous person – a night-mare

king.” Which supports my opinion which says what he does is wrong. There is

also another type of honor that I see broken in this play, and that’s honor to

your family. If he honored his family, he would let things take the course they

are supposed to take, and let his brother Clarence take over as King. I found a

quote in the book Shakespeare and the Renaissance Concept of Honor, by a man by

the name of Castiglione, and the quote says “for it is a great deal less

dispraise for him that is not born a gentleman to fail in the acts of virtue,

than for a gentleman. If he swerve from the steps of his ancestors, he has

straineth the name of his family.” In addition to this quote, I would like to

mention that this book also says “Loyalty to one’s family is placed ahead of

obedience.” So according to these teaching, what Richard did, just killing his

brother, appears to be very dishonorable, and that is aside from everything else

that he did. In conclusion to my essay would like to say that there seems to be

plenty of facts, in books, that proves my opinion which is, what Richard did was

wrong. According to the Elizabethan Laws, All the things that he did was

extremely dishonorable. All the facts that I found in my references are true

facts, they are not laws that are made for the story. I can see how the laws, or

teaching have changed from back in the Elizabethan time, and now. For an

interesting thought, I think that these acts, to a certain extent, are prevalant

in today’s political society. I think that certain people in politics today

exercise the ability to be dishonorable. A lot of times today, people, in

general will lie about anything, and back in the Elizabethan era, being

dishonorable was one of the worst things that you could be known as. If you lost

your honor, it was like you didn’t have anything left. I hope that in this

essay I have convinced the reader that what I think, is right. Even though they

proved to be intelligent plans, the whole doing of it was wrong. This is my

final opinion on this subject.

BibliographyGoddard, Harold C. The meaning of Shakespear. The University of chicago

Press, 1951 Richard III- A Play For Our Time.


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