Full PAPER (Cont. of Richmond)
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.
Shakespeare continues in the next line to use another enjambment followed by a caesura. “A base foul stone, made precious by the foil/ Of England’s chair, where he is falsely set;/” (Handout). By using these two literary devices, Shakespeare has put a great deal of emphasis on the throne that Richard has falsely taken over England. Richmond then begins to appeal to God. It is God’s will to have Richmond take the throne, because Richard did not justly receive it. Therefore it is God’s will to have Richmond’s men fight for him to get the throne he rightly deserves. Next Richmond appeals to their nationalism, making them put England first. If Richard remains king, Richmond’s men will be going against God’s will, England’s best interest, and the welfare of those who live in England. Richmond’s prepares a very strong argument to get his men prepared for battle.
Richmond continues his speech calling on to a different type of emotion. The soldiers families. He wants them now to fight not only for God and England, but for the safety of their wives. In this line “If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,/ Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors;/”, he uses another caesura to end the thought (Handout). One reason could be to put a great deal of emphasis on what could happen if they when. Richmond gives the men the impression that their wives would rather them come home winners, because it is more sexually appealing. Of course these men don’t want to disappoint God or their country, but when sex is on the line, it gives them yet another incentive to fight against Richard. Finally, Richmond brings in the last part of family that he had not already mentioned, children. Again this is yet another strong appeal because Richmond really wants his men to know what could happen if Richard remains King. Their children would grow up in torture, and would be led by a man of know character. Most men want the absolute best for their children, and Richmond did his best to appeal to one more aspect of these soldiers’ lives, by forcing them to think about the welfare of their children. Richmond’s last line states, “Then in the name of God and all these rights,/ Advance your standards, draw your willing swords./” (Handout). Richmond very purposely ended his speech with God in mind because they are fighting a man with know character. God is obviously on their side, so it gives them much more confidence going into battle.
Richmond’s speech before going into battle was placed before Richard’s because it is stronger. In Richmond’s speech he calls upon God, England, his soldiers’ wives, and even their children to prepare his men for battle. When you put this speech next to Richards, who calls upon primal fear, Richmond’s is much more effective because it comes from the heart. Richard may have killed his way to the throne, but Richmond is gracefully gets it back because of this strong speech that he gives to rally his men.