Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: March ::
Re: Richard III
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0272.  Sunday, 27 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Patricia Gallagher <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 26 Mar 1994 15:22:23 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Richard III
 
(2)     From:   William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
        Date:   Saturday, 26 Mar 1994 21:02:56 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0270  Qs:  Richard III; Study Leave
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patricia Gallagher <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 26 Mar 1994 15:22:23 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Richard III
 
Shakespeare's Richard III must be a villain, given the time at which it was
written. The histories that Shakspeare had at his disposal - Hall, Holinshed,
Polidore Vergil, Thomas More -- all painted Richard as the hunchbacked villain.
These are his sources, and the apologists would not appear for some years to
come (Buck's History was not released until 1619).
 
Given that the reigning monarch at the time when "Richard III" was first
performed would have achieved her throne through usurpation and murder, I
doubt, even if Shakespeare had any concept of Richard as a "good king", it
would have been politically correct to portray him as such.
 
But, I think, by Shakespeare's time, Richard's memory had been sufficiently
tarnished that this was the view held by most of the English population (the
north of England excepted. Richard was always popular in the north).
 
Patricia Gallagher
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Saturday, 26 Mar 1994 21:02:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0270  Qs:  Richard III; Study Leave
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0270  Qs:  Richard III; Study Leave
 
Chantal,
 
You ask a very big question. The debate over Richard III has been going on
since the 18th century when Horace Walpole expressed his "historic doubts." Of
course, Sir/St. Thomas More's HISTORY OF RICHARD III (ca. 1513) is doubtless
one of Shakespeare's chief sources -- in one way or another. Shakespeare may
have considered More's account historically accurate. On the other hand, he may
have been rather cynical about More's account. You can trace this background in
James A. Moore's bibliography, RICHARD III: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, items
857-1154, or in Paul Murray Kendall's RICHARD THE THIRD, Appendix II. As the
Latins might say, I mention Kendall to honor him.
 
The interesting question is, of course: what is the relationship of the play to
the written history?
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.