Zhang 1

Jason Zhang Mr. Vidrih ENG2D7-1D 29 October 2010

A Major Weapon: An Analysis into the Powerful Wordplay in Richard III

Language is, undoubtedly, always a striking feature in any Shakespeare¶s work. Different characters were given different verses and lines, which effectively represent their distinctive personalities. Under Shakespeare's pen, there have been so many vivid figures who have mastered the art of language in order to serve their own purposes. In contrast, characters with inferior levels of articulateness are often manipulated and overthrown. µHandle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.¶ This famous maxim from Pearl Strachan is once again conclusively proven by Shakespeare¶s historical play Richard III: Richard's linguistic not only reflects his own intelligence, but also reveals his ability to manipulate others. Through language, he can alter the fortunes of characters by wooing the women he desires, confronting the enemies that he despises, and ultimately, obtaining the throne of England. First of all, Richard is capable of utilizing his cunning wordplays to pursue the women that he aspires. At the early stage of the play, Richard, having realized the opportunity of achieving the upmost power, immediately decides to court Lady Anne in order to gain

for charity. Having been ready to sweep the Woodvilles." (4. He first starts off sending his nemesis into chaos and disorder. he could constantly defend himself with witty logic by claiming "Sweet saint. in spite of the curses that Lady Anne lays on him.273). Ironically. if the devil tempt you to do good. you know no rules of charity / Which renders good for bad.2.Zhang 2 reputation from the public. accepts his marriage. his adversaries' fates are reshaped by Richard's crafty linguistic ability. Likewise. now dispatch.2. "He that bereft thee. "Lady. Moreover. this importance evidence bolsters up the fact that Richard's sweet words are as touching as tear bombs. but also. Once again. but also successfully shift his responsibility of murdering Anne's father and husband to her irresistible beauty : "Nay. lady.186-188). with all my heart.4.49). even though her consent sees more perfunctory than compromising. for he clearly recognizes the basic nature of women: they are tenderhearted creatures (Chinese proverb). ³Madam.4.424)." (4. this is confirmed by himself: "Deformed. Anne not only refuses to be his executioner. blessings for curses" (1. unfinished. later on in the scene.2.20). be not so curst" (1.1. of thy husband / Did it to help thee to a better husband. in the subsequent part of the play when Richard strives to move Queen Elizabeth to persuade her daughter into marriage with him. Richard outcompetes during his first official conflict with them in this play by . or take up me' (1. his hypocritical pleadings for death effectively touch Lady Anne. In this wooing scene. sent before my time" (1. 'twas I that stabbed young Edward / But 'twas thy heavenly face that set me on / Take up the sword again. Richard hasn't got a handsome appearance or any affable personality. According to the play. at least from the surface her vexation at Richard is suppressed by his promising words "Ay." His extraordinary language skills not only help relieve himself from foul curses.68-69).

but also create an feeling of true dictatorship around him. he cleverly reveals : "This is the fruits of rashness. Interestingly. his powerful words not only help him conquer and capture. his articulation occurs to be more concise and. His lines employ a mixed metaphor to dramatize the huge difference between the Plantagenet and the Woodvilles. After mentioning Duke of Clarence's death.137-139). ³Although he seems to be discontent about Queen Elizabeth and her family members' ascent.Zhang 3 remarking "I cannot tell.196-197). emphasizes the mightiness of Richard's language. by baffling and controlling other characters that are in his way to . When he is finally cognizant of Hastings's stance. a commoner clan. / I will not dine until I see the same. As Lord of Buckingham suggests the potential betrayal from Lord Hastings.2. Last but not least. This maneuver fastens the gradual destruction of the Woodvilles. whilst Richard's acerbic message is mainly implication.74-76). / Off with his head! Now by Saint Paul I swear. Already the Queen is at a significant disadvantage because afterwards she is forced to defend herself openly. while galvanizing pathos from his colleagues. once again. Sarte) This renowned saying. In addition. he announces his destiny by uttering only a few words: "Talk'st thou to me of ifs? Thou art a traitor. aggressive. The world is grown so bad / That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch. Without any deviousness or guile. Richard's words are extremely terse : "Chop off his head.-P. Thereupon his adjusts to a more effectual strategy: calling fabricated crimes on his adversaries." (3. S. as he becomes closer to the supreme seat.1. his very true intention is to stir up a seemingly righteous quarrel with her. meanwhile. "Words are loaded pistols" (J. / Something we will determine" (3. Marked you not / How that the guilty kindred of the queen / Looked pale when they did hear of Clarence' death" (2. which is upon his order. the succinct and straightforward Richard is the scariest.4.

7:15): His true tyranny is barely manifested to his enemies in his words. he has utilized his physical deformity as a great advantage facing his nemesis. considering his sly personality. Furthermore. he tries to rationalize his absence "I have been long a sleeper.Zhang 4 kingship. appealing to bodily deformity and the impotence he claims it entails to obscure his shrewd political maneuvers. he is also able to alter his own fate by implementing his "deliberative.4. Aforementioned evidences . (3. / I took him for the plainest harmless creature ³(3. his language makes him "a wolf in sheep's clothing" (Gospel of Matthew. despite the fact that Richard of Gloucester is widely contemplated as a despicable villain. In fact. and epideictic" (Burton. He suggests that his physical deformity causes the Woodvilles to differentiate him.23-24).24-25). Also as Katherine Schaap Williams suggested in her analysis. he is never a procrastinator and he should have been pondering over how to deal with Hastings while hiding. smooth. He can always conjure up plausible excuses to avoid awkward circumstances. When Lord Hastings's head is brought up to him. / Smile in men's faces. 55) wordplays. and cog. / Duck with French nods and apish courtesy" (1. he claims "Because I cannot flatter and look fair. For instance.3. he commences his hypocritical lamentation "So dear I loved the man that I must weep. "Richard foregrounds his deformed figure in ways that advance his political power. As Richard makes his entrance while Queen Elizabeth attempts to debase him from hating her family. deceive.5.". His language of courtship effortlessly seduces Lady Anne into alliance with him. we can't deny that his linguistic skills are truly magnificent. when Richard makes his entrance when Hastings and his colleagues. forensic.47-50). but I trust / My absence doth neglect no great design". In conclusion. but in fact his true intention is to stir up chaos between the two clans so that he can legitimately eliminate the Woodvilles.

As time elapses.Zhang 5 have shown that his epideictic wordplays are the only weapon that protects him from the thistles and thorns on the journey towards the upmost power. Nonetheless. In order to sustain one's status in the society. and indeed he succeeds eventually. the daily usage of language has become more and more significant. As a "villainous but charismatic 'bottled spider'"(McCue) in the play as well as an infamous figure in British history. it is requisite to master his or her linguistic skills. Richard has demonstrated us one of the most crucial element in excelling in politics: flowery language. . his dedication on oratorical skills are all inspired by his primary motive: the usurpation of the throne.

EBSCO. Canadian Reference Centre. <http://www. McCue. The English Standard Version Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments with Apocrypha. Print. p55. Literary Reference Center. Your Super Confidence. Web. Katherine Schaap. "The Power of the Spoken Word | Then Disocver The Secrets OfHigher Self Esteem and More. By Paula. Ebooks and Audios Downloads. | Official Site | Nicholas Finnegan |Free Self Esteem Newsletters.brainyquote.nicholasfinnegan. 31 Oct. "Enabling Richard: The Rhetoric of Disability in Richard III. Jim. 14. Web.´ Shakespeare Studies.. 26 Oct. Web. 2010. Your Great Success ToChange Your Life Right Now! | Official Site | Nicholas Finnegan.Zhang 6 Work Cited Burton.4 (2009): 26. "Richard III: Villain or Victim of a Bad Press?" Times.. 2010. EBSCO.html>.html>. Web.com/quotes/quotes/j/jeanpauls155420. 31 Oct.com/the_power_of. Dolores M. Vol." Disability Studies Quarterly 29. 2010. 2010. ." Your Self Esteem. Maher. 28 Oct. <http://www. ³Discourse and Decorum in the First Act of Richard III. "Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes. Web." Famous Quotes and Quotations at BrainyQuote. Oxford: Oxford UP. The (United Kingdom) 25 June 2003. 2009. 1981. Williams. 31 Oct. 30p. 2010.

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