Preview
Preview

Essay about The Power of Women in Richard III

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 1485 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Power of Women in Richard III


In Shakespeare's The Tragedy of King Richard the Third, the historical context of the play is dominated by male figures. As a result, women are relegated to an inferior role. However, they achieve verbal power through their own discourse of religion and superstition. In the opening speech of Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 1-30 Lady Anne orients the reader to the crucial political context of the play and the metaphysical issues contained within it (Greenblatt, 509). Lady Anne curses her foes, using strong language to indicate her authority. She speaks in blank verse, by which she utilizes imagery to emphasize her emotions and reinforce her pleas. Her speech clearly illustrates the distinction between the submissive female role within the male sphere of war and the powerful female voice within the realm of superstition.

The language Lady Anne uses is appropriate for the scene which is set during the funeral procession of King Henry VI. Lady Anne mourns the deaths of King Henry VI, her father-in-law, and his son, Prince Edward. Lady Anne says to the King that she was "wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son" (1:2:10), although in history she was only betrothed to him. As a result, her relationship to his father, King Henry VI, is closer and her sadness is more valid. This supposed marriage also generates greater shock over her ensuing marriage to Richard III. The end-stopped lines are appropriate because they slow the speech and emphasize the dullness of one who feels pain and sorrow at the loss of a loved one. In addition, the ornate verse emphasizes the drama of her speech and the powerful emotion she exudes. The language upholds the sanctity of the King and recalls an elegy or psalm that w...


... middle of paper ...


... She asks that his wife be "more miserable by the death of him / Than I am made by my young lord and thee" (1:2:27-28). The fact that she marries Richard suggests that her curse is somewhat false. Perhaps she intentionally imposes a lenient punishment for his wife, one that she has already suffered, knowing that she might become his wife.

Lady Anne derives power from the language she uses to present her oaths. Like Lady Anne, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Margaret also recite curses as a form of control over their situations. The manipulation of a curse for personal means is the only power that a woman has within the male dominated Shakespearean society. Whereas the male derives power from physical force, the women can exert some power through verbal strength.


Works Cited

Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Shakespeare. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1997.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Women as Authroity Figures in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Richard III by William Shakespeare - One cannot escape one’s fate. The theme of fate and freewill is central to William Shakespeare’s play Richard III, in which Richard III battles with the two in his quest for the crown. Richard seeks to escape his fate as a deformed and unfinished hunchback by using what little power he has to gain more power and respect. Although Richard thinks that he is acting on his own free will, fate still controls him throughout his journey. In addition, Richard’s fate is expressed in the form of a curse that Margaret delivers as punishment for his crimes against her and her family....   [tags: culture, priestess, power] 693 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
A Study of the Dramatic Roles of Women in Richard III Essays - There are five female characters in the play Richard III. Of these five there are four central female characters; the Duchess of York, Richard's mother; Anne who later becomes Richard's wife; Queen Margaret who was the former queen and Richard's arch enemy and Queen Elizabeth, the current queen. The final female character who plays a minor role in the play is Queen Elizabeth's daughter, Elizabeth, but she is merely a pawn in Richard's plan and we never meet her. Each woman has a significant role in Richard III and is vital to the script....   [tags: five female characters in Richard III]
:: 1 Works Cited
1428 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Looking for Answers in Looking for Richard Essay - Looking for Answers in Looking for Richard       Al Pacino's "Looking for Richard" is an unusual film. It is a documentary about the complexities of Shakespeare, the performing of the play Richard III, and the ignorance of the average American regarding Shakespeare. The unusual nature of the film - it's similar to a filmed Cliff-notes version of the text - provokes wildly different reactions from film buffs, critics, and Shakespeare purists. A perusal of five different reviews of the film show such variant descriptors that range from Mary Brennan's comment that the documentary is "decidedly narcissistic" to Edwin Jahiel's comment that the film is an "original, mesmerizing exploration." T...   [tags: Looking for Richard Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
1832 words
(5.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Glorifying the Tudor Dynasty: Shakespeare's Richard III and the Perfect Villain - ... This results in Richard’s actions that lead him to kill his brother and manipulate his family into getting the throne. Additionally, the plot of the play portrays a turning point for English history, the rise of the Tudor dynasty. In combination with Machiavelli’s tenants, the fact that Elizabeth was the patron of the arts also influenced Shakespeare’s piece. Shakespeare evidently courts the Queen with the twisted characterization of Richard that leads to her current role as Queen of England....   [tags: Elizabethan plays, Golden age]
:: 5 Works Cited
1005 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Love and Marriage an Affliction or an Alliance: Deceit and Betrayal in Shakespeare’s Richard III - During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period marriage and love were idealized, divine and celebrated. Weddings were large events that included the entire families of both the groom and the bride. Reality was different; women were viewed as being fickle, inferior to men and a possession of men. Women had very little, if any, choice in who they would marry. Marriages were arranged so that both families would benefit in gaining wealth or power. Even though the ruler of England for over 4 decades was female, women were still not respected....   [tags: History, Middle Ages, Renaissance] 859 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
“Thou Camst on Earth to Make the Earth My Hell”: Richard as a Satanic Hero in Richard III by William Shakespeare - In mythology, the term “Satan” is defined as the ruler of the underworld. In literature however, that title is associated with the “opposer”, or the arch-rebel. This name originates from the corrupt hero Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Interestingly, Satan is not completely depicted as demonic and repugnant. On the contrary, he is able to deliver exhilarating speeches, evoke pity of the public, and even demonstrate some virtues normally affiliated with a tragic hero. However, Milton is not the only one to use such a figure in his writing....   [tags: Shakespearean Literature ]
:: 5 Works Cited
1148 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Importance of Speech in Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard III - Importance of Speech in Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard III Speech is often the strongest indicator of personality and motivation in Shakespearean histories and comedies. Each turn of phrase is a small insight into the essence of the character. Stringing together each line from the mouth of the character allows the audience to discover each nuance created by Shakespeare. By connecting the actions to a manner of speech, which mirrors those actions, Shakespeare is able to create more believable and dynamic characters....   [tags: Much Ado About Nothing Essays]
:: 10 Works Cited
2262 words
(6.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
“Naked Villainy”: Richard as a Satanic Hero Essays - In many religions and cultures, a demonic entity embodies the spirit of evil, ruler of hell, enemy of God, and tempter of humankind. This arch rebel figure often emerges in literature, and one of the most well-known is Satan, a defiant epitome of evil from John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost. There must be good in the presence of evil, thus there must be a hero with whom the villain clashes with, a bold character whom the audience roots for. In Shakespeare’s tragic play Richard III, Richard plays the role of both the hero and the villain by using his heroic traits to underscore his satanic persona....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Shakespeare] 1330 words
(3.8 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Free Richard III Essays: The Power of Seduction - Richard III: The Power of Seduction The word "seduce" according to Webster's Dictionary means to "tempt and draw away from proper conduct." This is exactly what Richard, Duke of Gloucester/King Richard III accomplishes in Richard III. In Richard's life he does not only move from deformed "hedgehog" to husband, but from "beast" to King. One may ask how such deeds were performed. However, a second look may make the deeds look simple. Richard demonstrated a strong power of seduction throughout the play that not only seduced Lady Anne, but many others....   [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays] 590 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Importance of Richard Arkwright to the Industrial Revolution Essay - The Importance of Richard Arkwright to the Industrial Revolution Richard Arkwright was the founder of the factory. He was the first person to invent a machine that used a different form of power other than man. People called him the Father of the Industrial Revolution. Richard was a barber in Lancashire when he saw an opening in the industry for a new invention. Weaving had been speeded up by ‘flying shuttles’ and the thread wasn’t being produced fast enough to keep up with the looms, so he used his invention, the water frame, to fill the gap and get him lots of money....   [tags: Papers] 553 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]