Richard III

Deformity of the Mind: Richard's Source of Villainy

In William Shakespeare's Richard III, Richard opens the play by informing the audience that, since he is "not shap'd for sportive tricks " (I.i.16) that are expected in the peacetime following the York's victory, he can only prove a spiteful, scheming villain. He goes on to describe his incompatibility with the leisure of peacetime in terms of his deformity his hunched back and shriveled, weak arm naming this as the source of his wickedness. Like Joe Christmas in Faulkner's Light In August, Richard struggles with his mental and emotional identity in terms of his physical identity; Is Richard's physical condition a manifestation of his evil nature which further emphasizes the depravity already present in Richard's mind, or is his evil behavior a result of years with a physical deformity in a superstitious, intolerant society? After carefully reading and analyzing of the play, it becomes evident that the latter is true. In a sense, Richard's deformity is the cause of his vile nature; Richard's villainy is derived from his belief that his physical deformity and the effects of that deformity prevent him from being a good person. In this respect, Richard's condition limits him and...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 923 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7317 literature essays, 2077 sample college application essays, 302 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in