Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: March ::
Qs: Herbs; Richard 3
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0339.  Monday, 10 March 1997.

[1]     From:   Rhonda Keith <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 9 Mar 1997 23:51:11 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Query on herbs

[2]     From:   JoAnna Koskinen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 10 Mar 1997 12:30:09 -0800
        Subj:   Re: Richard III


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rhonda Keith <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 9 Mar 1997 23:51:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Query on herbs

Does anyone know the significance of these character names/herb
references: Dogberry, wild cornel, dogwood? I did not find dogberry or
wild cornel in my herbal books.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           JoAnna Koskinen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 10 Mar 1997 12:30:09 -0800
Subject:        Re: Richard III

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for some input on Richard III for the Intro to Shakespeare
class I'm TAing. Here's the situation:
A fellow TA feels that Richard's villainy was a result of his deformity,
but I contend that he was deformed because he was evil. With all the
propaganda laced throughout the play, I can't help but feel that
Shakespeare's choice to make him physically repulsive (relative term)
was in order to compound his moral repulsiveness. This, in my opinion,
coincides all the propaganda of his being in the womb for two years,
being born with teeth and shoulder-length hair. My reading of Richard
III sees him as evil because he is supposed to be, and should not be
construed as the actions of a man's inner child lashing out at the
world. Shakespeare places other villains in this category, and I feel
that ultimately we are forced to accept their villainy (i.e. Iago), for
what it is, namely, an embodiment of evil.

The idea of giving Richard (the character in the play) a soul defeats
the whole purpose of the play, which is to bring to an end to the long
line of sin and imbalance beginning four plays before his appearance. My
colleague insists that Richard's ability to joke and pun makes him
human; I contend that it only makes him more attractive to the audience.
The devil is usually portrayed as someone who enjoys his work, so why
shouldn't Richard?

This discussion ended on the issue of whether Richard actually had the
two princes executed in order to gain the throne. Historically speaking,
there are a whole lot of inconsistencies that suggest this was
necessary; that Richard had succeeded in "bastardizing" the two boys,
and that politically speaking, his gaining the throne would not require
such drastic measures. But in the play, the death of the children serves
only to further the plot, and should be received in that spirit.
Villains appear in Shakespeare as being the only consistent character
throughout the play, and for Shakespeare not to address the presence of
the two princes as a potential obstacle to Richard would seem even more
inconsistent than killing them. Otherwise, Richard becomes Hannibal
Lechter, and  the audience is left thinking that He does have a heart,
which is not what I think Shakespeare wants to do (To those unfamiliar
with Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal takes a bite out of everyone except
Clarisse).

Anyway, we will be discussing this in class on Wed., each presenting our
point of view on the subject. My colleague and I differ in background,
which is why I think we see this so differently. He has performed
Shakespeare on stage; I tend to focus on the literary construct of the
play, going back and forth from the history as well as Shakespeare's
feel of the audience.

Well, what do you think? Your impressions would be most welcome, and I
am always open to new ways of approaching the historical plays.

JoAnna
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.