Paper 2: Module a Richard Iii/Looking for Richard

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Shakespearean Drama and Film How has your exploration of the connections between your prescribed texts enhanced your understanding of the values and contexts of each? In your response, make detailed references to your prescribed texts.

Through exploring connections between Shakespeare’s Richard III and Al Pacino’s Looking for Richard the values of the era are often a product of the context of the text. However, through studying the theatricality of man and the pursuit of power, it is clear these notions transcend time and context. Shakespeare valued the way an actor could act within a play and theatre was valued in this context. Shakespeare also demonstrated how Richard pursued political power, whilst Shakespeare himself
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Whether it be through stage of film.

The connection of the pursuit of power underpins how political power and cultural power continues to ‘reel in’ audiences. Shakespeare, by creating Richard, was capitalising upon the Tudor myth hence created his own cultural power. By degrading Richard, he won over the audience who knew of the War of Roses and the Monarchy which was connected to Richmond. Thus, through hyperbole of the deformities, he obtains cultural power. This pursuit of power is mirrored in the play as Richard shows no pity toward anyone in the pursuit of political power. ‘Tear falling pity dwells not in this eye’ and personifying ‘sin will pluck on sin’ underpins that he will kill Clarence, Buckingham, The Princes, and Anne in order to obtain political power. This relentless pursuit of power was reflected within the eyes of the audience who valued good over evil, the God like determination. Thus when Richmond defeats Richard, the play appeals to this expectation and value of the context.

Al Pacino, too seeks cultural power for himself, and American actors. He ‘becomes’ someone from the street, interviewing others who are sceptical ‘are you going to do it with your American accent?’ However the black street man he interviews says that intelligence is ‘hooked on language’, which validates Pacino’s quest, and gives him authority. Kimball, who believes ‘actors are the