King Richard Iii

New ideas are illuminated when a canon text is re shaped for a contemporary audience. Do you agree?
In an attempt to make canon texts from historical contexts more accessible and understandable to a contemporary audience it is common for composers to recontextualise older texts. In doing so it also allows for new ideas to become illuminated due to greater knowledge and exploration of the texts from a modern perspective. If we look to both King Richard III, a 1591 play by William Shakespeare and Looking for Richard, a 1996 docu-drama by Al Pacino we see this perfect example of a contemporary director attempting to make a 16th century play more accessible to a 20th century audience. The purposes of both texts are didactic,to inform and entertain however in slightly different ways. Shakespeare had the main purpose of teaching his audience about the moral codes of his era whereas Pacino aimed to instruct his audience about the language of Shakespeare and the character of King Richard III. The different focus of each of the texts is one of the key reasons that allowed Pacino to develop new ideas from a contemporary perspective.
The context in which each of these texts was composed has a significant impact on the ideas expressed in each. Many ideas that may have been considered important in the Elizabethan era would most likely have lost significance four centuries later. When we compare the contexts of each we see that King Richard III was written from a very religious context. Religion was one of the central values in the Elizabethan era where England was primarily a Protestant country with emphasis on the power of individual conscience. Many Elizabethans held strong beliefs in heaven and hell, curses and prophecies, and the devil. These religious ideas become increasingly noticeable in act one scene three when we are introduced to Margaret. We notice a reoccurring motif of curses arise when Margaret states, “can curses pierce the clouds, and enter heaven? Why...