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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: March ::
Re: Richard 3
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0348.  Wednesday, 12 March 1997.

[1]     From:   Mark Mann <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Mar 1997 15:22:07 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0339 Qs: Richard 3

[2]     From:   Patricia E. Gallagher <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Mar 1997 20:54:08 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0342  Re: Richard 3


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Mann <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Mar 1997 15:22:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0339 Qs: Richard 3
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0339 Qs: Richard 3

Austin Pendleton said it best about Richard III...he said the actor
playing him must view the world from the "perspective of the
rattlesnake"- meaning, of course, his views are not the same as the rest
of the world, his point A is not our point A, and so he is justified in
his own mind...as is Iago.

Having played both these sweet guys, I can tell you that in each, the
villainy springs from a skewed personal view, a lack of proportion.
Orson Welles said once that he was always amused at the whole library of
scholarly works on the motives of Iago, as if the authors couldn't
understand why a person would do what Iago does, when anyone who has
lived ( and esp. in the theatrical world) has known an Iago or two. My
approach to him was simply that lack of proportion-he was passed over
for promotion, and it seems quite natural to Iago that "tit for tat"
would dictate the ruining of Othello's marriage and life. To Iago these
balance quite well. Olivier once said that while in the RAF, he was
constantly harrassed and abused by a superior officer, and was
determined to get even with him, and while musing as to how, suddenly
thought," why, of course, he has a wife..." then it came to him " God,
that's Iago!"

Richard springs from jealousy, too, but he is contemptuous of the
well-proportioned folks around him, and rightly proud of the feats he
has accomplished given his deformities. He, like Iago, is aware of his
crimes and mindset, and makes the choice to set himself apart even more
" I am determined to prove a villain". But there are actually more
moments of doubt in Richard than Iago...there are several references to
Richard's sleepless nights, and nightmares, and we see one of them.
Richard's ambition pushes him on, in spite of knowing the evil he is
committing, while Iago is absolutely convinced of his own righteous
position. We see Richard begin to crack as the play runs toward its
conclusion, his decision-making becoming a little more disjointed after
he's king (his whole being had been focused on getting it, not on
maintaining his hold), whereas Iago stays the course all the way, and
succeeds in his plots to ruin Othello's marriage and life, and only the
problem of a little light aimed at his deceptions catches him in his own
nets. Yet I believe he is less concerned with his own destiny than is
Richard...Iago seems wholly bent for Othello's ruin, not his own
gain-indeed, what could he gain without Othello's coattails to hold on
to? I approached the news that " Cassio rules in Cyprus" with more
distress than " Tortures will ope his lips", because that meant the plot
to which he was committed didn't completely succeed.

Richard's lines after the nightmare " There is no creature loves
me...And if I die, no soul shall pity me" opens up a huge crack in the
carapace of confident cruelty. He is human, but not one we recognize
easily. He is the rattlesnake, with a world-view all his own.

Cheers................Mark Mann

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patricia E. Gallagher <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Mar 1997 20:54:08 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 8.0342  Re: Richard 3
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0342  Re: Richard 3

Just a couple of addedums here: there is no evidence that Richard III
was "historically" a hunchback. That was a myth begun in the Tudor
period.  Scholarship after that period has determined he probably was
somewhat short, but otherwise physically fine.

And, Anne was not a "ward" in Richard's household when they were growing
up. Richard was a part of the household of Anne's father, the Duke of
Warwick.  The alienation between the Duke and the house of Plantangenet
occurred when Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville, at which point he
had to promise his unmarried daughter, Anne (his elder was already wed
to the Duke of Clarence - Richard's brother - who also lived in the
Duke's household growing up) to solidify the deal.

Patricia Gallagher
 

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