Portrayal Of "Richard Iii" By Lawrence Olivier.

2085 words - 8 pages

William Shakespeare wrote "Richard III" in 1592. He amalgamated his text from a variety of historical records and legends. In doing so, he created a dramatically heightened play and gave Richard, his villainous antihero, intense political and social dimensions. Laurence Olivier adapted the play from the medium of the theatre to film in 1955. It is unusual for Shakespeare's plays to be performed in their entirety. He condensed Shakespeare's text into a coherent script. Olivier used traditional methods of film adaptation, such as cutting characters and dialogue. He did this while maintaining the stereotypes of the characters that were defined by Shakespeare. He concentrated on the main character, Richard, cutting out others. He reordered some of the scenes and added more. He successfully tailored the theme, characterization and style of the play in his representation. Olivier was able to further advance the play's impact by utilizing cinematic techniques and by casting renowned Shakespearean actors to play critical characters.Olivier starred in the lead as Richard III, Duke of Gloucester. He was fourth in the line for the throne held by his elder brother Edward IV, played by Cedric Hardwicke. Driven by ambition to possess the crown, perhaps as compensation for his deformity, Richard plotted the annihilation of all who stood in his way. This included his brother George, duke of Clarence (John Gielgud), as well as his two young nephews. Richard wis aided in his plots by the corrupt Duke of Buckingham (Ralph Richardson). Even after securing the crown, Richard's cruelty and treachery are not overlooked, and subsequently the kingdom is under siege by Henry of Richmond (Stanley Baker), who claims the crown himself.The central theme in William Shakespeare's play is the tyranny of Richard III. Although clearly a manipulative genius, Richard's tyranny fuels his rise to power. His physical deformity also seems to provide reason for treachery. This was a technique used by Shakespeare to emphasize the medieval concept that an evil mind must exist in a twisted body (Pollard 13). Richard's ambition and calculating nature captures him the throne of England. Although unfortunately for him, his tyrannical methods also lead to his death, and the surrender of his crown to Richmond.The film adaptation has a cyclical nature. There appears to be a cycle of events which creates a sense of balance in the film. The rise and fall of Richard III is highlighted with three crownings. The film opens with the coronation of Edward IV. An advantageous change, it gives the audience historical insight into the events that lead to Richard's coronation. This is where the audience learns of Richard's insatiable lust for the throne. The audience increasingly becomes conscious of Richard's malicious actions in his quest for power, which ultimately leads to his possession of the crown. However, shortly after obtaining the throne, he relinquishes it to Richmond, the seemingly rightful...

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