Rachel's Blog

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An Appeal to Arms (part of Shakespeare paper)

Richmond’s appeal to his soldiers in Act scene is written in iambic pentameter. This means we give each line 5 beats and when reading we accent the second syllable (dee dum dee dum...and so on). Since, Shakespeare also wrote the passage in blank verse, it has no rhyme scheme. The meter is consistent throughout, meaning there are no short lines or other variations in meter.
Richmond’s speech to his soldiers in Act 3.5 appeals to the soldiers morals and values. He directly contradicts King Richard’s speech to his army which invoked his soldier’s fear. Richmond appeals to various morals in his speech; good leadership and actions, God, heroism, and patriotism.
Beginning with the line "Richard except,........a homicide." ( ), Richmond says Richard is the only one they are fighting who actually wishes to follow Richard. In these lines he calls Richard a tyrant, which means Richard acts for himself and himself alone which is why he is the only one who truly follows himself. If we look at these lines from Barton’s theory of reading these plays, the comma after "Richard except," indicates a pause in the voice and stresses the separation of Richard from everyone else. Within the line, "For what is he they follow? Truly, gentlemen," Shakespeare throws in a caesura which magnifies his use of the words truly and gentlemen. Shakespeare does this to emphasize that Richmond speaks the truth about the situation with Richard, and he refers to his soldiers as gentlemen rather than yeoman, as Richard does in his speech to his soldiers.

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