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For one, he knows how to show empathy for his fellow citizens. Henry understands that these men want to protect their land and families, so by declaring King Richard III as the enemy who will destroy their lives, the soldiers will obviously side with Henry. Henry also displays great intellect, because in the matters of a battle, he always remains one step ahead.

He understands that even if there was the possibility of his soldiers not wanting to fight for their lands or families, adding the will of God into the cause for battle would sway them completely. He knows that should these men have the reassurance that God was on their side, then they would know the power and protection apparent in their favor. Therefore, if we believe Henry is genuine, and what he says is not just rhetoric, we may see Henry as a compassionate individual who wishes to rid the world of evil.

One may see him as a religious man who cares about his people, and perhaps does not want to fight, but believes it is the right thing to do to protect the greater good. Nevertheless, by his speech alone, Henry exhibits a powerful, holy, and empathetic personality that make his soldiers seem like family to him. King Richard III, on the other hand, has a different strategy for motivating his soldiers. By using this imagery, King Richard III is assuring his men that their opponents are certainly not worthy of living in their same beautiful homeland, England.

King Richard III, to further motivate his soldiers bombards them with even more imagery:. His speech actually represents him in his purest form because he has no problem elaborating on how he wants to shower his enemies with violence and gore. He delivers a raw and graphic depiction of ridding England of the vermin that would destroy it if they had the chance. He is the epitome of the dark and devilish. Judging by this speech alone and putting ourselves in the place of the soldiers, we might even believe that this king truly thinks there will be battle between men and monsters.

If we look at Henry as goodness and light and King Richard III as evil and darkness, would we even be able to see similarities between them? For one thing, both men use graphic imagery. King Richard III mentions blood when he proclaims that he wants his soldiers to ride in it. The two men also mention Saint George in their speeches, which is curious for King Richard III because he has done evil acts throughout the play. Perhaps it was just a ploy for his soldiers to feed off of. Henry and King Richard III are completely alike in the instance where they tell their soldiers about the enemy attacking their land and families.

It seems as though land and family are the two most important aspects to their soldiers, therefore both leaders need to mention it so their soldiers are truly motivated and persuaded. Ultimately, both leaders use religion, family, land, and honor as the main tactical points in their speeches. Regardless of being virtuous or devious, both men possessed the same characteristics of being powerful leaders and speakers.

In the analysis of their speeches we were able to see that both men use different techniques in successfully motivating their soldiers. Whether it was by religious righteousness or determined hostility, the men and their soldiers set out for success in battle.

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From either side, there are motivating points and strategies, so it is hard to decide who is more powerful in terms of speech giving. Regardless of the outcome of battle, both leaders were masters of eloquence, and in the case of a verbal battle, both were victorious. Shakespeare, William. Richard III. Jack R. New Haven: Yale University Press, I actually heard a lot about the propaganda that surrounds his name.

I found this to be excellent. I did not want to have this villianized picture of him in my mind, no matter how popular.

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Preferring the Richard who is loyal, brilliant, loving, and tragic, I kept myself from this portrayal. Maybe neither extreme is completely true. I think understanding both portrayals would make a really well-rounded idea of him, which, is probably a good thing to do for all characters in general. With your preference, you might be able to find some hidden gem that could connect the ideas or at least, give Richard some kind of loophole for his actions! Yes, definitely! I love anti-heroes, for me, they make some of the greatest, interesting and dimensional characters.

Thank you for the deconstruction; this was a very good exercise in understanding the importance of well-crafted language.

Teaching History with Objects - Portrait of Richard III

Thanks for an insightful article. His eloquence made him fascinating, which might have saved this from being merely a piece of melodramatic propaganda. But I would have like to see some more moral conflict in him…. If anything, people might then see him more as an antihero. I largely blame my unfamiliarity at the time with English history, but I also have to admit that it really helps to hear this play performed.

Most definitely! It has been a long time since I read this play and I had forgotten how backwards Shakespeare got the facts — for dramatic purposes or political, I do not know. Since that century represents the transition between the medieval and modern worlds, it is possible to discover attitudes that would not be out of place today.

Such revelations can convince students that England at that time was not a distant fairy-tale realm, but a region populated by recognizeable human beings with understandable motivations. Just as she seeks to demonstrate the human motives and actions of court personalities, she attempts also to reveal subtler influences. Richard P. Modern political philosophies, with their emphasis on immediate material gain, provide additional evidence of the persistent infiltration of Renaissance secularism.

Breaking oaths and shifting individual loyalties would certainly have been viewed at that time as treachery by the abandoned parties, but such actions would not have been rare or shocking. What happened to Richard at Bosworth Field clearly illustrates these new values. Each area of modern life in which such antecedents exist is a valid subject for classroom emphasis as well as student research. By using both approaches in the classroom, a teacher offers a more rounded portrait of fifteenth-century England and employs a variety of methods to excite student curiosity. As already noted, dramatic presentations concerning historical events can have far greater impact than direct narratives, whether they be in the form of lectures or text.

No matter how much a playwright embellishes historical research with fictional elements, an audience will find their opinions permanently molded by the images set before them. Generations of Americans learned about the character of Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett, and Wyatt Earp not from classroom texts but from movies and television — because they saw vivid, living figures with understandable motivations. When the dramatic presentation at the same time has genuine literary merit, it will earn repeated performances and leave a lasting and widespread impression.

In fact, it may become almost impossible to separate the character in the play from the genuine historical personality. That question offers the teacher a useful way to separate what is dramatically effective from what is historically probable. Will student research underscore his reputation for open-minded honesty?


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In his British literature course, Dr. Larry C. Thompson focuses on this disparity. Charles T. Interpretations vary from reading to reading and performance to performance. Biases and presuppositions provide a virtual brick wall which teachers struggle to remove. What Shakespeare devised as effective theater has created an image stronger than anything that could have come from a purely scholarly source. A popular debate surrounding education today concerns whether morality should be taught in the classroom.

Citing the acknowledged disparity of cultural backgrounds from which students come, it is sometimes argued that the teacher should remain ethically neutral, fulfilling the role of source and guide with regard to basic data but never venturing beyond that. Since functioning within our society, however,involves more than being armed with facts, such a position is inadequate for a genuine education. One of the basic beliefs of Western Civilization is the value of the individual; it is fundamental to the entire education curriculum and should not be intentionally ignored or quietly assumed in instruction.

A teacher must expose students to ethical dilemmas and lead them to realize the implications of available choices so that they have a compass by which to guide the application of their factual knowledge. The events surrounding the career of Richard III provide ample opportunity for this kind of moral education. Coming as they do at the end of an age dominated by spiritual authority and at the beginning of one in which pragmatism rules, they allow history classes to focus on ethical issues with very little break in the chronological flow of the narrative.

Richard III

Machiavelli claimed that he did not invent the new political morality but rather described what was at that time already in effective use. The basic assumption was that the securing and maintaining of power justified any action taken toward that end. Terrance L.

Ann Rabinowitz addresses the events surrounding Richard from less of an institutional angle and more from the standpoint of individual ethical issues. Whereas Dr. What imperatives; i. As Ms. Recognition of the practices of Machiavellianism ought not be construed by students to mean the same as acceptance and approval. On the one hand, there is the cold, political manipulation of facts to create an impression of unspeakable villainy; this is an issue of continuing relevance. On the other, there is the clash of a variety of conflicting morally attractive goals without an obviously preferable choice; this is also a common dilemma today.

If each individual is defined by the values used to direct his or her life, these issues belong in the classroom. In recent years what constitutes effective history teaching has undergone close scrutiny. It was assumed for a long time — and still is by many people — that a proper classroom consists of a well-informed instructor repeating for student memorization all the knowledge he or she has accumulated over the years. Such a definition seems woefully inadequate, if one views education in terms of its lasting impact.

Although a teacher may take pride in successfully traversing a chronological syllabus, the specific factual content of the course may have all the sticking power of a list of random numbers committed to memory. Unless a student genuinely assimilates the information — that is, makes it part of the general store of knowledge employed in future decision- making — there will be little retention. The circumstances surrounding the career of Richard III provide an opportunity for a teacher to reverse this detachment.

The process of reaching conclusions involves more than stringing together indisputable bits of evidence that point irresistibly in one direction. It requires the ability to evaluate a variety of often conflicting accounts. The process requires complex analysis. How the public conception and the painted one came to overlap is in itself worthy of investigation.

Janis and Fleming also suggest a survey of the literature endeavoring to rehabilitate Richard. It introduces students to historiography and the variety of conclusions that can be reached by disinterested, impartial, professional historians. Involving students in research, something heretofore considered the unique domain of the instructor, removes them from their passive role. It instills enthusiasm and encourages the development of lasting analytical skills. Furthermore, it has positive effects on all involved: the teacher, who must stay up to date on all available sources and options, and the student, who must investigate and evaluate, will both benefit.

They perform this function with the enthusiasm of a circus animal jumping through a flaming hoop. The material contains neither relevance to their lives, nor — aside from an occasional anecdote — anything that would fire their curiosity. There is a way to break the pattern of tedium and non- involvement. Let a class discover that some event is not as simple as it appears, but is instead a subject of intense controversy. Then show them that both sides seem to have convincing arguments.

Finally, reveal that the situation deals with issues of justice and injustice, as well as innocence and treachery. The result will be curiosity where little has existed before. Yet more can be derived from studying Richard than simply waking up a sleepy class. Reading the novel serves as an excellent introduction to a course in European History in a way students may not expect. The question posed to them, however, should deal not with recalled details but with whether they are convinced by Tey that Richard has been wrongly accused of the murder of the Princes. Assure them that the historians and historical figures mentioned in the book are real — and that only Grant and his friends are fictional — then turn them loose with only the admonition that they must cite evidence to support their conclusions.

Read each paper, checking only for accurate references to the novel and appropriate use of supporting evidence from it.


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These contradictions can be pressed with apparent conviction, so as to leave the impression that Tey is a complete idiot. One or two students may challenge those points; but the majority will probably squirm, assume that their conclusions were wrong, and become convinced that their grade has been dealt a disastrous blow.


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  6. Some, sensing that the prevailing wind has changed, will raise their hands. At this stage begin to present plausible arguments blaming the Duke of Buckingham.