Appearance And Reality In Elizabethard III And Al Pacino's Richard III

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As times change, values and ideas often change as they are invariably shaped by their context. However, some remain constant throughout time and are universal. The 1592 Shakespearean drama Richard III and Al Pacino 's 1995 docu-drama Looking for Richard [LFR] were written four hundred years apart yet both texts address perpetual values and ideas that are common to both eras. Through a simultaneous study of both texts, the responder is able to understand the influence of context on aspects of the human condition such as the adverse effects of lust for power and appearance and reality. Richard III is heavily influenced by Elizabethan principles and in Pacino 's response to the increasingly secular and modern American context he effectively refashions …show more content…
Richard 's carefully constructed facade allowed him to obtain what he desired and Shakespeare exhibits his duplicity through his asides and soliloquies as they unveil Richard 's multifaceted and deceptive character. Richard 's manipulative nature is shown through his chameleon like skills as he plays various personas ranging from a loving uncle, a pious man and a seemingly reluctant ruler. His duplicity is immediately displayed through his false concern for his brother Clarence seen in his "subtle, false and treacherous" lies all throughout the extremely ironic dialogue between the brothers. He goes as far as to feign a desperate lover in the scene with Lady Ann despite stating in the opening soliloquy "I cannot prove a lover". However, the irony of Richard 's dichotomy is that he has become a victim of his own lies and deception, losing all trust placed in him and not knowing who to trust. Richard 's death reveals a final truth that divine retribution is a more powerful reality than the interwoven lies that Richard has spread. Shakespeare has highlighted the significance of appearance and reality in relation to the human condition and condemns Richard 's use of it as he subverts the Tudor …show more content…
Pacino seeks to create a Shakespeare play that is more accessible and relatable to a twentieth century audience. Rather than condemn Richard 's duplicity, Pacino subtlety admires Richard 's skill as an actor and how on a grander stage he is able to constantly switch personas and deceive the characters who trust him, "he 's in good shape. He can move around. He can manoeuvre. He 's got room" (Pacino). Moreover, the smooth transitions between rehearsals, staged performances, actors heated discussion and documentary mode on the street serve to emphasise and give credit to Richard 's duplicity as a skill to conceal the truth with his lies. The transitions are very frequent throughout the film and have a cumulative effect on the audience as it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between the interwoven images of 'Pacino the Hollywood Legend ' and 'Richard the Murderous Tyrant '. The intertextual use of Prospero 's speech from The Tempest is empowered through the voice over at the beginning and end of the film "These our actors... all spirits... this insubstantial pageant..." which heightens the ambiguity between the boundary of performance and reality. The audience to a certain degree is compliant in understanding that humans are multifaceted by nature as they change faces depending on various circumstances. Pacino has shown the universality of

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