Analysis of Richard Iii's Winter of Discontent Speech

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William Shakespeare’s Richard III is a historical play that focuses on one of his most famous and complex villainous characters. Richard III or The Duke of Gloucester, who eventually becomes king, is ambitious, bitter, ugly and deformed. He manipulates and murders his way to the throne and sets the tone for the whole play with his very first speech, which is the opening of the play. Richard opens with the lines “now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York, and all the clouds that loured upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried” (1.1.1-4). These lines use the metaphor of changing seasons, winter signifying trouble and summer content, to show how his brother has laid to rest his family’s…show more content…
Since Richard cannot do anything about his deformity and ugliness he turns his bitterness to ambition and lays the groundwork for his plan to betray King Edward IV. Richard tells the audience, “plots have I laid, inductions dangerous, by drunken prophecies, libels and dreams, to set my brother Clarence and the King in deadly hate against the other; and if King Edward be as true and just as I am subtle, false, and treacherous, this day should Clarence closely be mewed up, about a prophecy, which says that G OF Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be” (1.1.32-40). In these lines, Richard reveals his plan that he will turn Clarence and King Edward against each other so Edward will banish Clarence to the tower because he believes Clarence will be his murderer. Richard will do this through declaring a prophecy that this will be so. Richard explains that this will work because King Edward is as just as Richard is treacherous and Richard will use that against King Edward to cause his and Clarence’s demise. It is not known whether the character Richard would have revealed more about his plan this early in the play because he is interrupted by Clarence. Richard ends the speech with the lines, “dive thoughts down to my soul, here Clarence comes” (1.1.41), which basically means that he better keep

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