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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Richard III.

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

Sounds familiar? That's actually from Shakespeare's Richard III. I knew it was from Shakespeare of course, but I hadn't read the play in which it was featured. This king-centered play is in some ways very similar to Macbeth. Again you have a famous warrrior who conspires to kill the king and crown himself. There are two main differences here, Richard does not only murder the king but also his sons (the king's), his wife (Richard's), and about 5 or 6 other nobles, additionaly he is not just a famous warrior but actually related to the king and his family. Not that family strife is anything all that new in Shakespeare but this one definitely is extreme by any standard.

I enjoyed the play and would recommend it to anyone, Shakespeare is just too good to pass up in the end, but I disliked two impacts, that I felt were missing (again, especially in comparison to Macbeth which I immensely enjoyed). One, there was no comical relief whatsoever in the play. I always thought that Shakespeare pepped up his tragedies' cruelty by some impromptu comedy like the porter in Macbeth. More importantly, Richard has no kind of moral argument with himself. He wants the crown and he takes it and does whatever he needs to do to secure it. There is no real reasoning for this, no self-doubt, he seems like an amoral human being. I found that a serious flaw in Richard III., as it kept the main character more at a level of a stock character - the true villain - than anything else.

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