The Horror of Jealousy

Sometimes peace does not satisfy everyone, and when the person it does not satisfy ends up being the kings younger brother, problems arise. King Edward VI was physically more beautiful, and loved more than Richard III. Richard feeling inferior and jealous states “I am determined to prove a villain” (I.i.30). Throughout the play, Richard is described to have physical deformities. For example, the large bump on his back was seen as atrocious, as well as his hunchback stance. Shakespeare played with these physical deformities to make Richard a monster in the play. From the opening monologue, it was made quite obvious to the reader that havoc was going to come to England as a result of Richard’s fury. The play starts stating “Now is the winter of our discontent” (I.i.1). In literature, winter is always associated with death, and foul things to come. The omens of the first monologue were enough to make any reader curious, and perhaps this is one of the reasons this play is popular, even in the twenty first century.

Moving further into the play, it is apparent that the first monologue was very accurate in how Richard would handle his rise to power. Through his eloquent tongue, and very high intellect, Richard rose to become king killing many on his journey. A great example of how convincing Richard was, was when he convinced Lady Anne, a noblewoman, to marry him. Trying to woo Lady Anne Richard states “then bid me to kill myself and I will do it” (I.iii,173). Richard even though he killed her husband, manages to get her to forgive him and marry him. Then a bit later in the play he ends up killing her as well. Richard held no ties, and was determined to rise to power. Killing did not seem to bother him, and in a sense, he acted as though the throne was meant to be his. In a way, this might have justified his actions within his own head, but he will always be remembered as an evil murderer. Richard becomes king, but his time is brief, as he ends up dying in battle. Before his death, Richard had a dream where the ghosts of everyone he has killed curse him to death. It seems that Richard was bound to die early, and in the name of justice, it was great to see him fall.

~ James Best

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