A deeper understanding of ambition and identity emerges from pursuing the connections between King Richard III and Looking for Richard. Compare how these texts explore ambition and identity. Ambition; an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honour, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment * Al Pacino’s production as an art-house vanity project * Promotes himself – manipulating the audience through cutaways, specific and timed edits. The medium of film allows for one to manipulate and force audience attention to a specific area, scene. His honest ‘love’ for William Shakespeare * Richard III – Ambition for power and the crown (Buckingham, Richard, Richmond) * Tudor Myth displayed * Strive for power Identity: * Through the collective works and connections established one forms an opinion on identities and how actions shape and define a person and their identity. * Pacino may be displayed as a egocentric, Hollywood star fulfilling his own purpose of promoting himself unto the world. This profile also creates a heroic and insightful connotation to Pacino who comments to the audience that his objective is to make Shakespeare more accessible to a modern day audience. Identity and the role of identity in acting. Does Al Pacino become like Richard III? Can one divorce themselves from the character traits they are presenting? * Richard III – does conscience, acting and deception shape identity? Is Richard merely a creation of God’s divine will, or is he a cold hearted villain? * Nature V Nurture * Was Richard born horrific or was it a skill he acquired? * Was it due to the deformities and possible prejudices he suffered “dogs bark at me as I pass” * Pacino evokes sympathy from the audience in the ending scenes opposing interpretations in the play and impacts of context ie.
Divine Justice and Elizabethan claim to the throne historical propaganda. A deeper understanding of ambition and identity emerges from pursuing the connections between King Richard III and Looking for Richard. Shakespeare’s King Richard III and Al Pacino’s 1996 documentary ‘Looking for Richard’ enhance a deeper understanding of ambition and identity through depicting explicit connections between each text and their audience. Enhancement of each text is gained through differing contexts and text types which are presented through literary and cinematic techniques.
Both composers use anachronisms to parallel beliefs and values such as ambition and identity which transcend both contexts. Ambition is an earnest desire for achievement. Both texts are self reflexive and emphasise Richard’s obsessive ambition, desire and longing for the throne. Each Richard strives towards capturing the throne regardless of consequences and bloodshed. Richard is depicted in both texts as an ambitious character who strives to gain power and independence through deception and self confessed villainy. Since I cannot prove a lover. . . I am determined to prove a villain’ This obsession which drives Richard to commit horrific evils to gain and then protect his claim to the throne. His ambition, power and evil blinds him and inevitably is responsible for his downfall in both of the texts. A connection is formed between Looking for Richard and King Richard III in the final scenes Al Pacino’s interpretation and ‘Hollywood’ background influences an ending which can be interpreted as portraying Richmond as a coward.
Elizabethan audiences however would have been influenced by manipulative and subtle propaganda embedded by Shakespeare to please the monarch of the time. Shakespeare introduced and tampered with the concept of divine justice and the Tudor myth through his production Richard III. Al Pacino’s ‘Looking for Richard’ produced in 1996, is produced within a very different time period with different values and beliefs of the time. The documentary shows the tyrannical leadership style of Kind Richard, with fellow nobles reacting with fear. The camera angles allude to Richard’s feelings of contempt to his subjects.
Modern day audiences may not understand the political history regarding the Tudor Myth however implications of Richard’s actions due to power, ambition and identity are themes which transcend and are relevant today. Ambition however is not only depicted within the texts, but responders must consider the ambition and aims of the authors in producing each text. Shakespeare wrote Richard III to entertain and give possible understanding and interpretation to outsiders of the ___________________ of the royal family. Al Pacino produced his documentary to allow access to Shakespeare, and also to promote himself.
Al Pacino’s choice of text also allows for tight control and audience manipulation through sound, cutaways, and edits which would have all been carefully inserted to serve Pacino’s purposes. Shakespeare however did not have these resources available to depict his creation. The lack of stage directions trademark by Shakespeare allows for flexibility and contrasting interpretations. Identity is another concept explored in both texts. Identity is a set of behavioural or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognisable.
Richard develops as a character throughout both productions however, from the beginning it is evident to the audience that Richard is physically deformed, and due to this deformity feels compelled to destruct societal order and prove a villain. Richard personifies nature as someone who has cheated him, mirroring his emotional and mental state. Richard is a character whom raises the debate of whether he was evil in nature or nurtured to be evil. ‘Deformed, unfinished… scarce half made up’ Elizabethans would historically shun the disabled and deformed, indicating and suggesting it was inevitable Richard was always going to play a villain.
Richard’s horrific actions are so revolting that his own mother regrets not aborting him; ‘Oh, she that may have intercepted thee, By strangling thee in her accursed womb, From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done. ’ Al Pacino provides an ulterior interpretation and in some ways depicts Richmond as a coward in the final scenes of ‘Looking for Richard’. Through depicting Richmond as a spineless and weak soldier Pacino evokes sympathy from the audience as Richard is shot in the back by an arrow shot by an archer.
The close up of the archer, panning away to Richard in the distance as he is struck by two arrows creates a cowardice, and the slow religious music underpins the horror and justice of the situation. Richard and Richmond then sword fight before, the camera captures Richmond thrusting a sword and finally killing Richard from a bird’s eye view. This camera angle creates a sense of superior justice, and incorporates the Elizabethan theme of divine justice. Richard’s identity is shaped by his surroundings and his ability to manipulate those using their own vanities against them.
Anne, Buckingham and Clarence are good examples of this. Anne is a strong woman who Richard manages to woo, after killing both her father in law and husband. Through exploiting Anne’s vulnerability and confessing a false love due to her beauty Anne agrees to marry Richard. The audience may experience difficulty identifying the role of acting within both texts. It is difficult to distinguish when Richard is acting, and when he is portraying the truth. The dramatic irony established when Richard interacts with the audience in offside’s are also questionable, as there is no proof Richard is telling the truth.
Similarly Al Pacino can be associated with the role of acting within the text. During a scene when the producer of ‘Looking for Richard’ and Al Pacino are discussing the final scene, Al Pacino is seen to be experiencing difficulty divorcing the character traits of Richard as he is determined and ambitious about ensuring he gets his own way. Shakespeare’s King Richard III and Al Pacino’s 1996 documentary ‘Looking for Richard’ both explore the connection of identity and ambition enhancing each other and allowing the audience to gain a deeper understanding of themes, characters, motivations and identities.