Through the illumination of different attitudes presented towards an individuals quest to maintain a moral fa?ade and to conceal ones true identity, this dichotomy between appearance and reality is constructed by Shakespeare in his King Richard III through his moral condemnation of an individuals duplicity, which is then reshaped by Al Pacino in Looking for Richard in his contemporary reimagining of Richard as a secular anti-hero, further highlighting the considerable extent to which Bergers statement is true for this intertextual study. A cynical attitude towards an individuals feigned moral pretence is initially presented by Shakespeare through his depiction of Richard III who works to conceal his underlying Machiavellian intentions throughout the play, as established in his opening soliloquy, plots I have laid to set my brother and the king / in deadly hate, whereby Shakespeare has Richards deviousness and devil[ish] plots eventually lead to his demise, illuminated by the Elizabethan worldview that the immoral acts of deceit and manipulation are ultimately destructive to the individual and the natural order. However, contrary to Shakespeares moral didacticism in which he condemns Richard as a vice character, Pacino is less concerned with the moral aspects of truth and deceit, highlighting a psychoanalytic view of Richard as a man who does not have his own humanity and cannot receive love, reflective of the twentieth centurys secular sympathy for the death of a tragic hero. An emphasis on Richards frightfully clever ability to manipulate others is also illuminated through Pacinos docudrama form with fluid cuts between Vox pops, rehearsal, interview and performance serving to simplify and relate this understanding of Richards deceptive political manoeuvres to modern-day politicians, further echoed through the Gospel song, where Richard has got the whole world in his hands and that leaders have total contempt in treaties and diplomatic pacts, the resonant concern being the duplicitous nature of modern day politicians as well as earlier ones. Through this reinterpreting of the Shakespearean tragedy to communicate a Shakespeare that is about… how we think today, and aligning this reframing with the initial portrayal of the decline of a power-hungry individual due to duplicitous actions, Shakespeares moral concern with Richards duplicity is diminished by the 1990s obsession with psychoanalysis of human motivation and behaviour, however, is supported by the continuity of the Elizabethan need in Pacinos society, to present a morally acceptable fa?ade to conceal ones true identity, continuing to resonate with modern audiences and reflecting upon the significance of context in reshaping central attitudes, illuminating the considerable extent to which the originality of later texts is diminished through the replication of resonant values.
Furthermore, a deeper understanding of context in which later composers such as Al Pacino is influenced by, provides the audience with clarity on the evolving attitudes towards how an individuals pursuit of power is ultimately detrimental to the human experience, and the how this contextual value is continuously replicated in texts over time. The damaging nature of this relentless pursuit of power is illuminated by Shakespeare through Act 4, Scene 2 in which Shakespeare has Richard order Tyrell to kill the two rightful heirs to the throne, two deep enemies… say it is done / and I will love thee, whereby it is evident that both characters resort to unscrupulous acts in their thirst for power, as elucidated though recognizing Shakespeares assertion of the Divine Right of Kings in his condemnation of Richards engagement in Machiavellian politics. Conversely, a focus on power as a human construct is seen in Pacinos remoulding of the Shakespearean play, whereby he seeks to draw parallels between the power struggles in Shakespeares 16th century play and the political reality within his own society, illuminating the secular attitude towards the pursuit of power through his role as a director, likening Richards attempts of gaining power to politicians, complete with lies and innuendo,. Conversely, the perspective that the corruptive quest for power is one that is doomed to fail is portrayed by Shakespeare in the final act though Richards desperate final lines, A horse, a horse, a kingdom for horse! whereby his power is reduced to nothing, clarified when examining Shakespeares theocentric worldview that such disruptions to the Great Chain of Being must be met with divine consequences and further echoed through the structured use of iambic pentameter. Comparably, Pacino deepened the understanding of the meaningless of the pursuit for power, evident as the voiceover from the final scene of the docudrama recites its opening lines from The Tempest, and like the baseless fabric of this vision the great globe itself will dissolve, and the film fades to black, whereby life becomes an insubstantial pageant and the circularity of the docudrama reinforces both the purposelessness of power and implies a sense of uncertainly within the modern era a reflection of late twentieth century postmodernist philosophy and directly contrasts to the historical belief in an afterlife and the classic Elizabethan restoration of order in Shakespeares concluding Amen. Thus, through the study of the intertextual conversations evident between Shakespeares Richard III and Pacinos Looking for Richard, responders are positioned to understand that despite a contextual secular shift, attitudes towards the pursuit of power echo resonant values and challenge notions such as divine retribution with the introduced concept of postmodernism, further illuminating the idea that all later texts are reflective of earlier ones through the parallels in societal values.
Consequently, through an intertextual appreciation and examination of Pacino in a contextualised reshaping of Shakespeares craft responders are positioned to acknowledge the transformation of precedential ideas in later assumptions, reflecting the attitudes towards duplicitous actions and the societal necessity for maintaining an acceptable moral fa?ade, as well as the consequences of the pursuit of power. The underlying significance of textual conversations in understanding the continuity of resonant values and the considerable extent to which the originality of later texts is diminished by parallels drawn between societal contexts.