Richard Iii

Alexandria Pardee
E 321

Shakespeare’s Richard the Third vs. House of Cards

When Shakespearean principles are applied to modern day settings, the outcome can spell disaster. Oftentimes we get Shakespearean language in the present – day environment, and all it does is make the audience confused. Shakespeare’s Richard III is the perfect plot for present – day adaptation. Unlike plays such as Romeo and Juliet, where the events wouldn’t actually take place today, the lust for power is extremely common in today’s society. The character of Richard Gloucester is easy to adapt to modern settings, because he embodies what people wish they could do in order to get what they want. In pop culture, there have been two significant television series that take almost directly from Shakespeare’s Richard III. In the 1990s, BBC televised a three – part miniseries entitled House of Cards, and last year Netflix adapted the BBC version into a Netflix original series of the same name. Both shows are adaptations of a book also titled House of Cards. The television shows differ slightly from one another, but the manner by which the main characters conduct themselves is similar to that of Richard Gloucester. These recent manifestations have stayed true to the techniques that Shakespeare created, and changed little over time.
Both television shows feature a main character in a great position of power. The BBC version revolves around Francis Urquhart, a member of the House of Commons and the Chief Whip of the Conservative Party. In the Netflix version, Francis Underwood is a United States Congressman and Majority Whip. Both men are passed over for promised promotions; Urquhart was to be promoted to a senior level cabinet position under the Prime Minister, and Underwood was supposed to be named the new Secretary of State. After these slights, the men vow to not trust anyone, and with the help of their wives, they set plans to destroy the government from within, thus taking...