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"Now is the winter of our discontent": The Uncanny History of Richard III
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper will use Sigmund Freud’s essay “The Uncanny” to analyse William Shakespeare’s play Richard III. It will be argued that, although the play predates the ideas of Freud, it makes use of several elements of the uncanny to set the scene or to enhance imagery. With the goal to reveal such aspects of the play, a number of specific topics and ideas will be discussed and examined. The dreams of the play will be interpreted; Richard III is noteworthy for its reliance on dreams to replace the supernatural elements often used by Shakespeare, but the very nature of the dreams calls that into question—as they seem prophetic.  

The roles of women, and Richard’s own “femininity”, will be examined. While the men dream, women speak curses that, eventually, appear to come true. The doubling of characters, historical events and devices like dreams and curses will also be looked into—all to find the uncanny core of the play’s narrative.

A large part of that narrative involves political manoeuvring, and the psychology of Richard as he goes about achieving his goals before conscience causes his downfall. Both will be analysed with the help of close readings, psychological research and comparisons to Niccolò Machiavelli’s ideas. In the end, the full extent of the uncanny impact on the play should be revealed with an explanation of how the individual aspects of the play come together, and how the reversals of Richard makes him seem uncanny both to fellow characters and audiences.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Richard III, William Shakespeare, Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny, History
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-144576OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-144576DiVA: diva2:1128817
Supervisors
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Available from: 2017-09-13 Created: 2017-07-28 Last updated: 2017-09-13Bibliographically approved

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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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