Cervantes, Shakespeare
Prisma latinoamericano, lecturas refractadas

Reflexiones desde Montevideo


Shakespeare’s Talking Killers

Meltem Gürle (Bogazici University, Turquía)

Act I, Scene 4 of Richard III differs from the preceding and succeeding scenes of the play in that it presents a complete event in itself. Shakespeare reserves a self-contained scene to demonstrate how the two murderers hired by Richard himself, sneak into the Tower, meet his brother Clarence, and kill him. He portrays the murderers as simple men, equips them with the language of commoners, and spices their dialogue with a streak of cruel humor.

Shakespeare’s murderers in Richard III seem to possess the first seeds of a Hollywood convention: The talking gangster. The talking killers of the early film noir made the cinema accessible to the illiterate immigrants of urban areas in the United States in the same manner Shakespeare’s murderers made theater enjoyable for the uneducated Elizabethan audience. The gangster, in speaking with the authentic accent of his ethnic, working class background, further enhanced his status as an "outspoken representative of the vox populi" (Munby, 43).

This paper analyses the similarities between Shakespearean drama and American/Latin American film noir relying on dark humor, clever dialogue and quirky characters.

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