SOLILOQUIES FROM THE HISTORY PLAYS
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SOLILOQUIES FROM THE HISTORY PLAYS book
The first two soliloquies discussed in this chapter are from Richard III. In this play Shakespeare discovered new ways of presenting the soliloquy, inspired, no doubt, by the fascinating character of his protagonist and by the need to find appropriate means of expression for Richard 's selfdramatization. In order to appreciate the advance made between the soliloquies in the three parts of Henry VI and the astonishing monologue in the last Act of Richard III, we would have to take a closer look at the trilogy, written only shortly before Richard III. For the most part the soliloquies in these history plays still follow established dramatic conventions. They provide the audience with information, epic insets, straightforward declarations of intent, or rhetorical lament, and do not differ fundamentally from the other speeches of the main characters in these plays. I There is little inner movement and change. It is only in Richard Gloucester's soliloquy in the third part of Henry VI (III.ii.124 ff. ) that we find that blend of harsh cynicism and richness of metaphor that is characteristic of the protagonist's speeches in Richard III.