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Language analysis - Shakespeare's Richard III: Act IV, Scene 4

Language analysis - Shakespeare's Richard III: Act IV, Scene 4

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Language analysis - Shakespeare's Richard III: Act IV, Scene 4

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Language analysis – Act IV, Scene 4
14.04.2021
The given extract of Act IV, Scene 4 of the play "Richard III" by William Shakespeare

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P.Volk Language analysis – Act IV, Scene 4 14.04.2021 The given extract of Act IV, Scene 4 of the play "Richard III" by William Shakespeare is set right at the beginning of the scene. Old Queen Margaret, a Lancastrian, gives a short soliloquy about her enemies miseries and her malicious joy about it. Soon, Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of York, enter while Margaret remains hidden and comments on their conversation. The ladies of York mourn the murders of prince Edward and his brother Richard, who where the sons of Queen Eliza- beth and the grandsons of the Duchess, as well as the murder of King Edward IV's, the husband of Queen Elizabeth and the son of the Duchess. The deeds had been committed by Richard in or- der to become king of England which he succeeded in shortly before. While Margaret reflects on the horrible events at the beginning of the scene, she uses a metaphor to describe the collapse of the York's strength (cf. I. 2). Her choice of words is full of hatred, for ex- ample "rotten mouth of death" (cf. I. 2), which shows her anger against the Yorks. When she men- tions that she will go to France to watch the monarchy of the Yorks fall apart, Margaret...

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clarifies that she hopes "the consequences will prove as bitter, black and tragical” (I. 7) as once for herself. The alliteration of bitter and black indicates the strong wish of Margaret to finally take revenge. At the end of her soliloquy, the Lancastrian woman calls herself "wretched Margaret” (1. 8) which shows that she is still being tormented by the loss of her husband, her son and her nobility. Finally, Mar- garet asks the rhetorical question "Who comes here?” (1. 8) to draw the audience' attention to the entering Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of York. While Elizabeth and the Duchess are talking, Margaret secretly comments on that. Once, the old lady mocks Elizabeth by imitating her when she says that the ghosts of her dead sons shall "hover about" her (I. 14). The teasing of the young queen shows that Margaret has no sympathy for her but only feels joyful about her loss. She de- clares three times that it is only fair that Elizabeth's sons and her husband were murdered just as Margaret's family (cf. I. 16, 21, 22). When Queen Elizabeth speaks to God and asks the rhetorical question if he ever slept during such a deed, Queen Elizabeth replies aside with 'yes, when Harry and her son died' (cf. I. 26). This response from Margaret might suggest that she is extremely dis- appointed in God's injustice and may have even lost her faith in him when her family died and no one was punished for that. In summary, in this scene Margaret is full of hatred for the Yorks and wishes them more harm. Therefore, she is pleased that the York ladies are suffering because of their losses. At the same time, Margaret seems to mourn deeply over her own loss. When Queen Elizabeth enters, she immediately laments about the murder of her sons, Edward and Richard. First, she calls them many loving names for example "my poor princes" (I. 10) and "my tender babes” (l. 10). These terms show the motherly love and at the same time the pain of their passing. Furthermore, Elizabeth uses two metaphors when she says "my unblown flowers, P.Volk 14.04.2021 new-appearing sweets" (I. 11). With these metaphors the young mother wants to express that the princes died way too young at the age of 12 and 9 years. During her mourning, her choice of words is full of sorrow and pain which is also evident in her request to the ghosts of her sons, for they to continue to keep surrounding Elizabeth (cf. I. 14). It is clear that the Queen is not ready to declare her sons dead and gone. When Elizabeth talks, she constantly uses mournful exclamations such as "Ah" (I. 10, 35) or "O" (I. 23, 37) which shall highlight her pain. In addition, the use of many rhet- orical questions (cf. I. 24, 25, 37) indicates her helplessness and that she has not yet come to terms with all the murders. When she finally sits down (I. 33) it represents that she can no longer sustain the grief. To sum it up, above all it was the deaths of her young sons that put Queen Eliza- beth down. She is not only full of sorrow but also perplexed and very distraught. Contrary to Queen Elizabeth, who mourns a lot and wants to express her grief, the Duchess of York is more inactive and silent. As she already states on her own, all the miseries of the past weeks made her cry and lament so much that she simply has no energy to moan any longer (cf. I. 18-19). When the duchess once asks the rhetorical question "Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?" (1. 20) it is to make it clear to the audience that she is mourning the death of her husband Edward IV above all. In line 27, the Duchess uses many oxymorons for example "Dead life", "blind sight" and "living ghost". The audience immediately notices these contradictions which are sup- posed to represent the injustice that happened to the ladies of York. They thought they had a clear view and their position on the throne was secure. But they were blind to Richard's intrigues which is why so many have died now. Furthermore, the old lady uses the antithesis twice for example when she says "rest thy unrest" (I. 30) and “England's lawful earth, unlawfully made drunk with in- nocent blood" (1. 30 ff.). Again, the Duchess establishes the injustice between the characters be- cause the innocent had to die while the villains live and also that the young had to die while the old live. The Duchess' lack of strength is also evident in her sentences which are often very short as if she had no strength to formulate complex sentences (cf. I. 27 f.). In summary, the Duchess of York mourns more silently and is not as restless as Elizabeth. Furthermore, she analyses the situation and puts the injustice in the foreground. To put it all in a nutshell, the three women express their grief in very different ways. Old queen Mar- garet is full of hatred and seeks revenge against the Yorks. Queen Elizabeth is restless and com- plains very emotionally about her loss while the Duchess of York is exhausted from all the lamenta- tion and analyses the injustice of the deeds.

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Language analysis - Shakespeare's Richard III: Act IV, Scene 4

Language analysis - Shakespeare's Richard III: Act IV, Scene 4

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Patrizia

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Language analysis - Shakespeare's Richard III: Act IV, Scene 4

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 P.Volk
Language analysis – Act IV, Scene 4
14.04.2021
The given extract of Act IV, Scene 4 of the play "Richard III" by William Shakespeare

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P.Volk Language analysis – Act IV, Scene 4 14.04.2021 The given extract of Act IV, Scene 4 of the play "Richard III" by William Shakespeare is set right at the beginning of the scene. Old Queen Margaret, a Lancastrian, gives a short soliloquy about her enemies miseries and her malicious joy about it. Soon, Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of York, enter while Margaret remains hidden and comments on their conversation. The ladies of York mourn the murders of prince Edward and his brother Richard, who where the sons of Queen Eliza- beth and the grandsons of the Duchess, as well as the murder of King Edward IV's, the husband of Queen Elizabeth and the son of the Duchess. The deeds had been committed by Richard in or- der to become king of England which he succeeded in shortly before. While Margaret reflects on the horrible events at the beginning of the scene, she uses a metaphor to describe the collapse of the York's strength (cf. I. 2). Her choice of words is full of hatred, for ex- ample "rotten mouth of death" (cf. I. 2), which shows her anger against the Yorks. When she men- tions that she will go to France to watch the monarchy of the Yorks fall apart, Margaret...

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clarifies that she hopes "the consequences will prove as bitter, black and tragical” (I. 7) as once for herself. The alliteration of bitter and black indicates the strong wish of Margaret to finally take revenge. At the end of her soliloquy, the Lancastrian woman calls herself "wretched Margaret” (1. 8) which shows that she is still being tormented by the loss of her husband, her son and her nobility. Finally, Mar- garet asks the rhetorical question "Who comes here?” (1. 8) to draw the audience' attention to the entering Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of York. While Elizabeth and the Duchess are talking, Margaret secretly comments on that. Once, the old lady mocks Elizabeth by imitating her when she says that the ghosts of her dead sons shall "hover about" her (I. 14). The teasing of the young queen shows that Margaret has no sympathy for her but only feels joyful about her loss. She de- clares three times that it is only fair that Elizabeth's sons and her husband were murdered just as Margaret's family (cf. I. 16, 21, 22). When Queen Elizabeth speaks to God and asks the rhetorical question if he ever slept during such a deed, Queen Elizabeth replies aside with 'yes, when Harry and her son died' (cf. I. 26). This response from Margaret might suggest that she is extremely dis- appointed in God's injustice and may have even lost her faith in him when her family died and no one was punished for that. In summary, in this scene Margaret is full of hatred for the Yorks and wishes them more harm. Therefore, she is pleased that the York ladies are suffering because of their losses. At the same time, Margaret seems to mourn deeply over her own loss. When Queen Elizabeth enters, she immediately laments about the murder of her sons, Edward and Richard. First, she calls them many loving names for example "my poor princes" (I. 10) and "my tender babes” (l. 10). These terms show the motherly love and at the same time the pain of their passing. Furthermore, Elizabeth uses two metaphors when she says "my unblown flowers, P.Volk 14.04.2021 new-appearing sweets" (I. 11). With these metaphors the young mother wants to express that the princes died way too young at the age of 12 and 9 years. During her mourning, her choice of words is full of sorrow and pain which is also evident in her request to the ghosts of her sons, for they to continue to keep surrounding Elizabeth (cf. I. 14). It is clear that the Queen is not ready to declare her sons dead and gone. When Elizabeth talks, she constantly uses mournful exclamations such as "Ah" (I. 10, 35) or "O" (I. 23, 37) which shall highlight her pain. In addition, the use of many rhet- orical questions (cf. I. 24, 25, 37) indicates her helplessness and that she has not yet come to terms with all the murders. When she finally sits down (I. 33) it represents that she can no longer sustain the grief. To sum it up, above all it was the deaths of her young sons that put Queen Eliza- beth down. She is not only full of sorrow but also perplexed and very distraught. Contrary to Queen Elizabeth, who mourns a lot and wants to express her grief, the Duchess of York is more inactive and silent. As she already states on her own, all the miseries of the past weeks made her cry and lament so much that she simply has no energy to moan any longer (cf. I. 18-19). When the duchess once asks the rhetorical question "Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?" (1. 20) it is to make it clear to the audience that she is mourning the death of her husband Edward IV above all. In line 27, the Duchess uses many oxymorons for example "Dead life", "blind sight" and "living ghost". The audience immediately notices these contradictions which are sup- posed to represent the injustice that happened to the ladies of York. They thought they had a clear view and their position on the throne was secure. But they were blind to Richard's intrigues which is why so many have died now. Furthermore, the old lady uses the antithesis twice for example when she says "rest thy unrest" (I. 30) and “England's lawful earth, unlawfully made drunk with in- nocent blood" (1. 30 ff.). Again, the Duchess establishes the injustice between the characters be- cause the innocent had to die while the villains live and also that the young had to die while the old live. The Duchess' lack of strength is also evident in her sentences which are often very short as if she had no strength to formulate complex sentences (cf. I. 27 f.). In summary, the Duchess of York mourns more silently and is not as restless as Elizabeth. Furthermore, she analyses the situation and puts the injustice in the foreground. To put it all in a nutshell, the three women express their grief in very different ways. Old queen Mar- garet is full of hatred and seeks revenge against the Yorks. Queen Elizabeth is restless and com- plains very emotionally about her loss while the Duchess of York is exhausted from all the lamenta- tion and analyses the injustice of the deeds.