Analysis of Richmond's speech in Richard III (First half)
During Act Five, Richards’s plans begin to come to a halt. After killing so many innocent people to get to the throne, he finally gets his wish to become King. The only thing standing in his way is Richmond, because he was prophesized by Queen Margaret, to be King, not Richard. When Richmond begins to gather his troops to fight against Richard, he gives a speech to his men proving why they need to dethrone Richard. Unlike Richard who appeals to fear, the lowest common denominators, Richmond appeals to God first. Richmond tries to suggest justification in God, by fighting against Richard. He also appeals to morality, a trait that Richard does not posses. After examining Richmond’s speech in Act 5, scene III, it will become obvious that Richmond is the better speaker going into war. By breaking the poem into three sections, Richmond’s word choice and sentence structure will be easier to understand.
Richmond begins his speech with an enjambment, causing the reader to hurry to the next line to understand what he is trying to convey to his men. One reason Shakespeare might have done this is because he was trying to show the importance of defeating Richard. Richmond knows that Richard is an awful leader, and he is using this fact to persuade his men. No wonder he begins by saying that Richard’s own troops would rather see Richmond win because Richard is not a strong King. Next Richmond asks, “For what is he they follow: Truly, gentlemen, / A bloody tyrant and a homicide;/” (Handout). Richmond knows that Richard has killed his way to the top and by examining this line, which is a caesura; it is obvious that he wanted more emphasis on the Richard being a “tyrant”. Shakespeare continues using more caesuras’s because it makes an obvious pause that causes the reader to realize the magnitude of what Richmond is saying. Richard was born in a monstrous birth, and has killed so many of the people that helped him to become King. Richmond really wants his men to understand how terrible Richard truly is, and this will cause them to fight with more purpose.