Richard III and Macbeth

Essay by samyslk230 March 2007

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The Unveiling of the Motives of 2 Cruel MenRichard III and MacbethRichard the III and Macbeth were two men who wanted to rule the world. They both had evil instincts and would go to any extent to gain ultimate power. Both of them used violence as a method to get rid of whoever was in their way of their goal this would include no hesitation in killing their close ones be it their friends or family members. Richard the 3rd being handicapped by birth was power hungry which cause him to resent the power of his older brother King Edward IV. The fact that he was crippled by birth brought utter bitterness to Richard which might be a reason why he was always wanting to snatch other people's positions especially that of his own brother. On the other hand Macbeth is a story again of an evil ruler who has the same intentions as Richard the III and has the same amount of power hunger but his fortunes are slaves to witches meaning that what the witches predict usually comes true and it because of them that he aquires power and not solely by his own efforts.

This is Unlike Richard the III in a way that he didn't have witches predicting his future and there was no third party force affecting hos intentions other than himself.

Although the two men were cruel and some may even term them to be sick in a way, the way they went about acquiring power was slightly different although both shed blood whenever they could but they went about achieving things in their own unique way. "Why, I in this weak piping time of peace have no delight to pass away the time, Unless to spy my shadow in the sun and descant on mine own deformity And therefore since I cannot prove a lover To entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain And hate the idle pleasures of these days." (I.i.1-40) This quote is fom Richard the IIIrd speech at the very beginning when he claims that he was not born a normal man who is capable of being loved so he will not let anyone live in peace. This does not justify his method of claiming the throne but it just makes him more evil in the eyes of the commoners. This whole speech clearly brings out his motives of aquiring power and all of them seem dark and monstrous just like his character. Macbeth starts of his quest for power with a companion named Banquo unlike Richard the III who wanted to do everything on his own to begin with. Another partner in crime helps Macbeth achieve power is his wife Lady Macbeth and she tell Macbeth at one point to kill the Scotish King Duncan in prder to obtain it. This is another prime example of the difference in the way the two characters Macbeth and Richard the III try to obtain power. One works alone and the other has several compatriots helping him including a female.

"The raven himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements. Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood, Stop up th'access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between Th' effect and it. Come to my woman's breasts, And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature's mischief. Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry 'Hold, hold!" this quote is taken from Act I scene V lines 36-52 of Macbeth where Lady says that she has no doubts about killing king Duncan and that she will do anything to take the throne. From the quote it seems that she is the culprit behind all the murders that were committed and she has the daredevil attitude not her husband you seems to cautious before taking any steps. This aspect makes Macbeth different from Richard the III because Richard is totally independent in conducting his motives and he uses the speech that he says in the beginning to gain sympathy from the people which is something Macbeth did not do. This makes Richard more clever and cunning than Macbeth. Two famous murders committed by Richard the IIIrd was that of the two young princes in the tower of London. And for centuries it was thought that they had disappeared but no one knew that Richard had killed them. This shows the level of cunningness and secrecy that he has In him. Richard gets cursed ferociously by Margaret because of the deeds that he committed. This left him helpless at the end which proves that you cannot escape a curse especially that of a women and moreover she was a close member if his family.

"Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv'st, And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends. No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine, Unless it be while some tormenting dream Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils. Thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog, Thou that wast sealed in thy nativity The slave of nature and the son of hell. Thou slander of thy heavy mother's womb. Thou loathèd issue of thy father's loins. Thou rag of honour, thou detested."(I.iii.220-230) In this quote Margaret curses Richard so that mistakes his friends for enemies. She also tells Richard that he will have sleepless nights which he experiences during the eve of the Battle of Bosworth Field. This quote is one of the most important quotes in the play because it foreshadows the events in the rest of the play and the language used in the quote is also very strong because it is full of Margaret's insults.

Macbeth on the other hand is totally influenced by his wife and he seems to always be cautious before taking decisions which is why his wife took the lead and made all the decisions for him. Normally ferocious men like that do not like it when women interfere in their lives especially when it comes to plotting schemes to attain their desired goal.

So ultimately to sum everything Macbeth and Richard are two ferocious leaders who are very negative in character and have been cursed for their wrong doings by their close ones therefore they will not live a very peaceful life even though they succeeded in getting what they wanted and that is evidently the throne and power. It is said that too much greediness is not a good thing and these two plays and mainly characters are good examples of this.