Analysis of Richard III Passage
Methoughts that I had broken from the Tower
And was embarked to traverse to Burgundy,
And in my company my brother Gloucester,
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches. Thence we looked toward England
And cited up a 1000 fearful times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster
That had befall’n us. As we paced along
Upon the dizzy terms of the hatches,
Methought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling
Struck me, that thought to remain him, overboard
Into the toppling surges of the chief.
O Lord, methought what hurting it was to submerge,
What awful noise of Waterss in my ears,
What sights of ugly decease within my eyes.
Methoughts I saw a 1000 fearful wracks,
A thousand work forces that fishes gnawed upon,
Wedges of gold, great ground tackles, tonss of pearl,
Incomputable rocks, unappreciated gems,
All scattered in the underside of the sea.
Some ballad in dead work forces ‘s skulls, and in the holes
Where eyes did one time inhabit, there were crept—
As ’twere in contempt of eyes—reflecting treasures,
That wooed the slimed underside of the deep
And mocked the dead castanetss that lay scattered by. ( I: IV:9-33 )
Clarence ‘s prophetic dream sequence in Act I scene Four Begins and ends with premonition, as we see the slaying of Clarence and besides visualize the eerie and supernatural glance of an underworld beneath the ocean as we see Clarence distressingly drown. The transition begins with Richard and Clarence puting canvas to Burgundy, reminiscing on the horrors of the conflicts they had won and lost together throughout the war of the roses. As their ship begins to destabilize, Clarence is cast overboard after seeking to forestall Richard from falling. The text leads us to believe this is inadvertent despite logic stating us to instantly presume this was planned by Richard. As Clarence distressingly drowns, he begins to depict the dark, supernatural underbelly of the ocean. Multitudes of lost wealth and hoarded wealth are seen alongside decomposing cadavers and the liquors of 1000s of work forces, work forces whose deceases, it has been suggested, Clarence was partially responsible for as a consequence of the recent overthrow of the monarchy. Clarence ‘s dream sequence is laced with both dramatic linguistic communication and baleful boding throughout. An array of poetic devices and literary techniques are employed to successfully reenforce major issues and subjects of the drama as a whole within this transition. Numerous subjects are reinforced and introduced in this transition such as the apposition of earthly wealth and human mortality, the upseting trust that Clarence has for Richard, horror and calamity, and besides the motive of the dark and the supernatural. Furthermore if we read the transition from a modern position we can integrate a Freudian reading when analyzing what seems to be Clarence ‘s subconscious head.
Whilst watching Richard III, the character of Richard is hard to side with nevertheless at the same clip there is a certain appeal and inventiveness about him that is difficult to dislike. There are cases throughout the drama which help to demo Richard as a antic linguist and a sympathetic Machiavellian hero. However, at the same clip the dramatic sarcasm used in the signifier of Clarence ‘s weakness and naivete is perchance the most powerful illustration throughout the full drama which shows the cold and evil inner nucleus of Richard ‘s character. When Clarence dreams of Richard killing him, the text seems to propose that Richard did this by accident as Clarence says that Richard “in falling, Struck me, that thought to remain him, overboard.” [ [ 1 ] ] The manner Clarence has made a point of stating how Richard merely pushed him “in falling” is interesting as it makes us oppugn the dependability of Clarence ‘s history. This dramatic sarcasm plants because from an audience ‘s position we are already cognizant of the dark nature and pitilessness of Richard, moreover we know that Richard is in the procedure of engineering the slaying of his brother Clarence. These factors make us oppugn the “accidental nature” of Clarence ‘s narrative despite it being a dream. Could this dream in fact be a message straight from Clarence ‘s subconscious trying to warn him of his impending decease? We could in fact read this transition as Shakespeare trying to show a sixteenth century equivalent to Freud ‘s construct of the subconscious head. The audience is now to the full anticipating the impending decease of Clarence, and the incapacitated audience is forced to sympathize with him and get down to contemn Richard. The experience of this scene could be summed up by a quotation mark from critic Charles Barber, who believes “Clarence ‘s incredulity in his ain dream creates the feeling that Richard ‘s immorality is excessively monstrous for those around him to accept or conceive of, and therefore it amplifies our horror of Richard.” [ [ 2 ] ]
The antecedently mentioned construct of Shakespeare meaning to demo the workings of Clarence ‘s subconscious is besides fascinating as it demonstrates a sample of a theory that was non to go popularly recognised for 100s of old ages. This element adds deepness and verisimilitude to the drama and besides adds to our hatred for Richard. Freud describes the unconscious head as “a reservoir of feelings, ideas, impulses, and memories that are outside of our witting awareness.” [ [ 3 ] ] It would look that these feelings are more perceptive in some ways than Clarence ‘s witting 1s. Somehow Clarence ‘s unconscious has picked up more about Richard ‘s character than his witting head. This poses an interesting inquiry, even to a modern audience, about the antic complexness of our heads. An audience who embraces this reading is likely to happen this idea provoking and be intellectually stimulated by this construct. If we take this transition to intend that that Clarence ‘s unconscious head is seeking to state him something, so we besides read that his witting head is disregarding it for non merely does he presume his dreamed decease was an accident, but he subsequently goes on to province how his brother “loves me dear” and says to the liquidators ( hired by Richard ) that “if you be hired for meed, travel back once more, And I will direct you to my brother Gloucester, Who shall honor you better for my life.” [ [ 4 ] ] Clarence ‘s refusal to move upon this portents and moreover disregard his ain ego is important in demoing the power and use Richard is capable of.
When the audience listens to Clarence ‘s history of his dream, the transition should render as extremely important as it foreshadows many of the events yet to come in the drama. When Clarence begins to submerge this is in fact an eerie prefiguration of his eventual decease, and more specifically submerging minutes subsequently in the scene. One critic has besides read this dream as besides boding the nightmare Richard himself experiences prior to the conflict of Bosworth in Act V scene V. [ [ 4b ] ] There is much boding throughout the drama, such as when Queen Margaret, a enchantress like character, is introduced. Queen Margaret begins to state curst prognostications as a acrimonious effort to revenge all of those who have antecedently wronged her.
It is besides interesting to observe that through this transition, Shakespeare has included a subject that was popular amongst Renaissance literature, whereby earthly wealth is shown in apposition with human mortality. [ [ 4c ] ] This was a common concern among authors of the clip as earthly wealth ‘s value was questioned in many ways because of the realization that we can non purchase “life” and wealth will intend nil in the hereafter. While absorbing the address, we notice that there are infinite images in this transition that barrage us with this subject. The lost hoarded wealths are described to a great extent and often such as the “wedges of gold, great ground tackles, tonss of pearl, incomputable rocks, and unappreciated jewels.” However it becomes clearer why Shakespeare has made a point of making this when we consider this subject of human mortality versus earthly wealth. When we so go on to see “Some [ gems ] ballad in dead work forces ‘s skulls, and in the holes Where eyes did one time inhabit” decease and wealth are non merely in apposition, they are basically merged as one. The manner the gems have been incorporated into the oculus sockets of the skull makes the apposition even more dramatic as they about seem as one entity because of the manner we associate the gems as eyes slotting into the sockets of a skull.
This transition is besides important in the manner it introduces the motive of the Gothic into the drama. Clarence ‘s dream sequence accompanied with the eerie cursing of Queen Margaret subsequently in the drama, are both scenes which contribute to the Gothic elements of this drama through mentions to the supernatural and the unknown, and minutes of horror. Horror as a literary term can be described as “The feeling of repugnance that normally occurs after something terrorization is seen, heard, or otherwise experienced.” [ [ 5 ] ] We see horror in the transition when Clarence describes in item the scenes of the underworld and the nature of his painful drowning. Clarence explains “what pain it was to submerge, What awful noise of Waterss in my ears, What sights of ugly decease within my eyes.” This dramatic address forces the audience to get down to see the submerging themselves as Clarence uses powerful imagery such as the H2O in his ears and the hurting that he experienced. Furthermore the grotesque and macabre images of “a thousand work forces that fishes gnawed upon” besides help to dismay the audience. Supernatural elements that besides contribute to the Gothic feel of the drama are seen in another subsequent prognostication manner dream of Clarence ‘s where he sees the shade of Prince Edward, a Lancastrian whom Clarence had helped to kill. Edward begins to cuss Clarence as liquors begin to drag him below to the underworld.
After analyzing Clarence ‘s dream in Act I scene IV, it can be concluded that Shakespeare has employed a scope of literary techniques and thoughts that help to reenforce and present of import subjects that permeate the full drama. Techniques such as dramatic sarcasm encourages us to appreciate the immorality of Richard, and the inclusion of a subconscious aid add deepness and machination to the drama. Furthermore the transition is a utile penetration into the drama as a whole through the debut of other of import subjects and issues of the twenty-four hours such as horror, the supernatural, and the apposition of earthly wealth and human mortality.
Barber Charles, Notes on Richard III, ( London, Longman, 1999 )
Devendra, Varma The Gothic Flame, ( New York: Russell and Russell, 1966 )
Radcliffe, Ann On the Supernatural in Poetry, Exert taken from New Monthly Magazine vol.16 No.1 hypertext transfer protocol: //www.litgothic.com/Texts/radcliffe_sup.pdf [ 22.4.09 ]
Shakespeare, William, Richard III, ( London, The Arden Shakespeare, 2006 )
Strachey, James ( Trans. ) , ed. Anna Freud, The Necessities of Psychoanalysis, ( London: Vintage Books, 2005. )
[ [ 1 ] ] William Shakespeare, Richard III, ( London, The Arden Shakespeare, 2006 ) I.IV.19-20
[ [ 2 ] ] Charles Barber, Notes on Richard III, ( London, Longman,1999 ) p.75
[ [ 3 ] ] James Strachey ( Trans. ) , ed. Anna Freud, The Necessities of Psychoanalysis, ‘the unconscious ‘ ( London: Vintage Books, 2005. ) p.46
[ [ 4 ] ] William Shakespeare, Richard III, ( London, The Arden Shakespeare, 2006 ) I.IV 217-218 p.183
[ [ 4b ] ] Barber Charles, Notes on Richard III, ( London, Longman, 1999 ) p.96
[ [ 4c ] ] Ibid.
[ [ 5 ] ] Varma Devendra, The Gothic Flame, ( New York: Russell and Russell, 1966 ) p.17