Richard III

The Progressive Isolation of Richard III

From the very opening of William Shakespeare's tragic historical drama Richard III, the isolation of the main protagonist is made quite clear, for Richard progressively separates himself from the other main characters and gradually breaks the natural bonds between man and society through his at times well-conceived plan to gain the power of the English throne via the extermination of all those who stand in his way.

The first scene in Richard III begins with a soliloquy which emphasizes Richard's physical isolation as he addresses the audience. This idea of isolation is then heightened by his references to his deformities, such as "rudely stamp'd. . . cheated of feature by dissembling Nature. . . ," an outward indication to the audience of his disharmony from society and the viciousness of his inner spirit. As he despises "the idle pleasures of these days" and speaks of his plots to set brother against brother, Richard separates himself from those in his orbit who perhaps view him as an outsider due to his physical deformities. His separation from his family is emphasized with "Dive, thought's down to my soul" when he observes his brother approaching. Thus, Richard provides hints of...

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