Dreams in Shakespeare's Richard III Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1735 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice


O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!

... shadows to-night

Have stuck more terror to the soul of Richard

Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers

Armed in proof and led by shallow Richmond.

[act V, scene 3, lines 179-80, 217-19]

He sees conscience as a weakening factor; throughout the play he has followed his own counsel and acted according to his own will. Richard has always been self-sufficient, and the power of the device of the dream is that it confronts Richard, inescapably, with himself:

What do I fear? Myself? There's none else by.

Richard loves Richard: that is, I am I.

Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am.

Then fly. What, from myself?

[Act V, scene 3, lines 183-6]Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Dreams in Shakespeare's Richard III Assignment

Conscience, if it is to act upon the human soul, cannot come from outside, it can only come from within. This is the value of the dream as Shakespeare uses it in Richard III, that it is a vision within the mind one person, from which that person cannot escape. Richard fears the weakening effects of conscience: "Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls; / Conscience is but a word that cowards use, / Devis'd at first to keep the strong in awe" [act V, scene 3, lines 309-12]. He is right to…
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