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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: Richard III, Lover
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0017.  Monday, 6 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Virginia M. Byrne <
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        Date:   Saturday, 4 Jan 1997 10:57:48 -0500
        Subj:   Re:  8.0007 Q: Richard III, Lover

(2)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Sunday, 5 Jan 1997 02:55:57 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0013 Re: Richard III, Lover

(3)     From:   Kathleen Brookfield <
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        Date:   Sunday, 05 Jan 97 12:44:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0007  Q: Richar


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:            Virginia M. Byrne <
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Date:           Saturday, 4 Jan 1997 10:57:48 -0500
Subject: 8.0007 Q: Richard III, Lover
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0007 Q: Richard III, Lover

I don't think Richard "wood" Anne in the sense of sexual desire and romantic
love but rather as a power ploy both emotionally and politically.Also even
though he vocalizes that he is not made for womanizing I am not sure (typical
male) that he REALLY believes it.

I also loved "Looking" and took an Acting Shakespeare class to see it on the
big screen. Pacino has always supported the tecahing of Shakespeare and has done
much through his CHAL Productions (Out of Conn) to encourage it. Have you heard
anything about a public showing of the 1912 R3?

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Sunday, 5 Jan 1997 02:55:57 -0500
Subject: 8.0013 Re: Richard III, Lover
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0013 Re: Richard III, Lover

Carol Light asks "who but a villain would approach....[etc.], a woman newly
widowed?" Well, of course, the obvious link is Hamlet---Hamlet too, in his own
way, asks "was woman ever in this humour won?"--but he casts Claudius rather
than himself into the role. IS Claudius a villain? Well, yes-- but he's also a
"product" of H's obsession (which itself may be to some extent to be the
product of plays like "the murder of gonzago"). In other words Shakespeare in
both plays asks the same question Carol Light does but in Hamlet he also asks
"who but a villain would ASK whether one has to be a villain to woo a woman
right after being widowed?"     chris stroffolino

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathleen Brookfield <
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Date:           Sunday, 05 Jan 97 12:44:00 -0500
Subject: 8.0007  Q: Richar
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0007  Q: Richar

I hope I am not going to regret jumping in on the message about Richard III as
a lover, but the subject intrigues me so much, I cannot resist putting in my
two cents.

>Has anyone ever considered this discrepancy or do we just write it off as
>necessary to keep the play moving?

I have never thought of Richard's proposal to Ann as a discrepancy in his
characterization.  Neither is it proof of Richard's skills as a dissembler to
"clothe" his "naked villainy".

Nobody, except Ann, believes Richard is sincere and penitent. His speeches,
before he proposes to Ann and after she leaves him, leave us in no doubt about
his single-minded goal to wear the crown of England and to destroy all who
might prevent him. The line, "I'll have her but not keep her long", kills all
misconceptions that this is going to be a play about love and marriage.
Richard is not the tragic hero of Aristotle, but Shakespeare's own tragic
villain who constructs his own fate. However, there is evidence that the women
also construct their own tragic fates.  Ann seals her fate when she falls for
his flattery.

Richard's role as a lover is the first of many of his deceptions in using
outward appearance and smooth words to hide his intentions. The play progresses
through a series of Richard's deceptive roles: the lover, the unjustly
slandered loyal subject, the saint, and eventually the good king.  In every
role he plays, Richard betrays those who give him trust, loyalty, or love.  So
the scene where he woos Ann initiates this series of deceptive roles to
disguise increasingly horrendous thoughts and actions.

Ann's belief in Richard, against her better judgments, is the biggest problem,
for me.  I have never thought of this scene as support for Richard's skills as
a lover.  The scene is more a questioning of Ann's lack of trust in her own
convictions.  Her acceptance of Richard, based on his flattery about her beauty
and her belief that he is sincerely penitent, characterize her weaknesses more
than they dramatize Richard's skills as a successful lover.

Ann might be compared with with the aged Queen Margaret. The two queens seem to
be at opposite ends of the active and passive pole. Shakespeare seems to have
been intrigued with the character and role of Queen Margaret in these four
history plays, so it is not out of order to see her character in terms of the
series of events leading to The Tragedy of King Richard III.  Margaret, when
she was younger, was active in wars and as ambitious, greedy for power, and as
cruel as Richard.  Ann seems less inclined to action and is portrayed in a
constant state of weeping and regret.  When we compare the two queens in
similar situations, we see that in the transition from the feudal Plantagenet
times to the rise of the Tudor monarchy, royal women have lost what little
power they might have had and become more passive in male power games. Ann
accepts the role as a marriage pawn with less protest than Margaret did in an
earlier time and place.  Another reason for seeing Richard's proposal to Ann
scene as more than something to move the plot.

The "wailing queens" scene, later in the play, supports the idea that the women
feel powerless in the wake of the unfolding tragic events. But Margaret's
cynical speeches seem to imply that they have constructed their own fates.  She
is a reminder to the audience that revenge is no solution as the tragedies are
only repeated in the next generation. Margaret's speech to Ann "Thou hadst a
Clarence too,.."(IV.iv. 46) lists their similar tragedies.  Neither Margaret's
active part in war nor Ann's passive role in accepting Richard's words of love
at face value help in averting tragedy, but Margaret's earlier attempts to do
something about her fate contrasts with Ann's response to a similar situation.

I loved that image, in the latest film of Richard III, showing Queen Margaret
boarding a jet for France. Her final exit, not hiding in a hole to die, is in
character with her life as portrayed in the earlier plays. She is strong
character who seems to realize, in her old age, that she helped construct her
own tragedies.

So, in my view, this scene with Richard and Ann is much more than just an
attempt to "move the plot" along.

I have yet to see "Looking at Richard", so thanks for the reviews.
 

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