Richard III

Stage Directions are a crucial part of reading and interpreting Shakespeare. The stage directions in Shakespeare provide some vivid imagery that help readers picture certain scenes. Even some implied stage directions can be determined through careful reading and logical reasoning. The first detailed stage direction occurs when the Dukes of Gloucester and Buckingham enter in Act 3 Scene 5. The direction states that they enter wearing rotten armor, marvelous ill-favored. This description helps the reader understand their deep intentions to play their parts to convince the mayor of London of their plan. This stage direction is not only descriptive but helpful towards the understanding of the play. The first stage direction to make an impact comes after the Duchess of York’s scolding/curse of Richard. Immediately after her lines, she exits which seems to be an exclamation point on a powerful monologue. Next, in Act 5 Scene 5, the ghosts of all the people Richard murdered appear to both Richard and Richmond, but they enter appearing above the two men. This specific way for them to enter provides a vivid picture of what these ghosts looked like in this scene. Shakespeare is very helpful in providing all the previously mentioned stage directions to aid the readers in imagining his plays and actors. In addition to written stage directions, certain actions occur which are implied to happen naturally on stage with no stage direction needed. The first example comes in Act 1 Scene 3 when Queen Margaret addresses Buckingham. The Queen addresses the Duke one on one in front of the group of people, but when Richard asks Buckingham what she said to him we are left presuming that Margaret must have whispered to Buckingham, even though we aren’t given a specific stage direction. The next stage direction that is not implicitly stated is in Act 5 Scene 5. This scene is when Richard and Richmond are both visited by ghosts. While the ghosts address both men we are not given a specific stage direction that they are present on the stage at the same time. The final interesting stage direction in Richard III occurs when Richard is slain in Scene 8 of Act 5. The fact that the evil antagonist of the whole play is just subtly killed in the stage directions of a fight is important to note. Apparently, Shakespeare did not feel as though Richard deserved to have a dying soliloquy as with most characters in this play and most of his tragedies. Although some readers may not think twice about stage directions when reading Shakespeare, they are crucial in picturing scenes and interpreting potential stage directions for certain actions.

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