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Richard III's presence in Black Adder; The Foretelling

Uploaded by kankean_au on Mar 06, 2001

The good guys always win. We know this because Hollywood has taught us that. We also know this because history has taught us this. But when people take into account and acknowledge history’s teachings, most fail to also consider history’s hypocrisy. Every day, all through our lives we become softened and comforted with drugs, fed gradually and continuously by our trusted media. We are overwhelmed by the goodness of our rulers. Wherever there is evil, it is always won over by the forces of good. America – saviour of democracy, has defeated the evil communist empires. Australia is a more civilised and developed country now that it is in the capable hands of the Europeans. Israel with the help of America (our favourite knight in shining armour) is winning the battle against Islamic terrorists so that they can secure their “democratic interests”. Again and again we are reminded that history, after all, is written by the winners.

The Black Adder episode; The Foretelling, attempts to remind us of history’s hypocrisy by studying the events of the War of the Roses an texts from literature depicting this, and illuminating them in humorous light. Special treatment is given to Shakespearian accounts of the war. It provides a ridiculously different version of event, mocking us for respecting Shakespeare as a historian. The writer does this by making continuous appropriations to Richard III through similar but humorously modified phrases, the inconsistent use of Elizabethan language, familiar names but with different characters and by depicting similar events.

The story starts off with good king Richard III addressing his group of merry men by saying, “Now is the summer of our sweet content made overcast winter by these Tudor clouds.” Words from that famous opening soliloquy, recited by theatre’s most well known Machiavellian villain, modified to have a ridiculously contrary meaning that we find humorous. Hah, we say in disbelief, Richard a nice guy? We find that hard to take in because we listen and accept what Shakespeare tells us.

The essence of The Foretelling’s humour is derived from many such allusions to Richard-III. Richard is not the only victim of such characterisations. Innocent sweet little Edmund is potrayed as the evil traitor; the Black Adder ad is given a particularly daft hairstyle! The knight Richmond – champion of goodness, servant of god – is now the vile enemy, accused of rewriting history for his own sake.

It is not...

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Uploaded by:   kankean_au

Date:   03/06/2001

Category:   Film

Length:   3 pages (674 words)

Views:   1835

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