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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Seduction of Lady Anne
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1145.  Friday, 14 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Narrelle Harris <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 22:01:10 +0800
        Subj:   Re: RIII and Anne

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 12:53:15 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1139  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

[3]     From:   Scott Shepherd <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 13:31:59 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1139  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

[4]     From:   Bonnie Melchior <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 15:12:47 CST6CDT
        Subj:   The Beautiful Anne


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Narrelle Harris <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 22:01:10 +0800
Subject:        Re: RIII and Anne

Matthew Gretzinger said:

> If Anne is so soul-less, so
>lacking in will, what obstacle will be overcome in wooing her?  What
>triumph will Richard win sufficient to allow him such gloating?  The
>same problem occurs in the McKellen _Richard_.  Kristin Scott Thomas
>takes the Bloom approach a step further.  Bloom, "very grievous sick and
>like to die," looked drugged and detached in her final scenes.  Thomas
>is literally an addict.

I didn't read the Scott-Thomas portrayal this way.  I thought she was a
strong woman who, despite herself, was moved by Richard's eloquent
wooing, and became fascinated by him.  I thought this scene worked very
well, as I've often not quite believed others I've seen.  Her later drug
addiction I felt came from having married a man she finally realises
doesn't particularly care for her.  She has broken her own soul and
spirit by believing his protestations of love and discovering that she
has betrayed her self and her husband and son.

Narrelle Harris

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 12:53:15 -0500
Subject: 8.1139  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1139  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

Surely the moment on which the scene turns is the moment when Richard
offers her the sword and his vulnerable breast: pure power hanging
between them.  When she cannot seize it, it passes ineluctably to him.
Not that it doesn't belong to him from the outset.

A long time ago somebody proposed that Richard was first played by
Edward Alleyn, a giant of a man (helping to account for that group of
larger-than-life protagonists-Tamburlane, Faustus, Hieronimo).

Dave Evett

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Shepherd <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 13:31:59 -0500
Subject: 8.1139  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1139  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

With so much emotional speech in this scene, and in a play that so
mangles the real history it alludes to, I don't think any strictly
political "explanation" can be satisfying.  The scene reads as an
impossible seduction, not a beaten woman's shrewd career move.

I suggest this:  that the deformed man arouses compassion as well as
revulsion, and that Richard uses his pitiability to his advantage,
playing meek and even a bit simpleminded when it suits his purpose.  So

        He that bereft thee lady of thy husband
        Did it to help thee to a better husband

and such don't come off like a deliberately macabre amorous policy but
the sincere confused pleas of a love-struck halfwit.

Clearly Richard's strategy is to depict the murders as evidence of the
intensity of his devotion, and because this is a demented idea, it
behooves him to show a pitiable dementia.

This is just a suggestion for performance without much scholarly backup,
but isn't it conspicuous that this wooing success comes almost on the
heels of a soliloquy saying "because I'm deformed I can't woo" (evidence
against the popular truth-in-soliloquies theory), and isn't it proper
dramatic irony then for the deformity itself to clinch the seduction?

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bonnie Melchior <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 15:12:47 CST6CDT
Subject:        The Beautiful Anne

On the question of whether Anne should be beautiful, in my humble
opinion yes she should, because that beauty is emblematic in an
oppositional way.

The play as a whole seems to present ugliness as a manifest emblem of
evil, but the kind of evil associated with the "virtues" of effective
action in the political world (qualities represented by the Italian
*virtu*).  Richard's ugliness is constantly emphasized (he is for
instance a "bunchbacked toad"-I don't have my text here to look up the
exact quote).  Beauty, on the other hand, is associated with goodness
and is interpreted by Richard as a kind of contemptible weakness and
passivity.   Witness his opening statement that "grim-visaged War" has
been co-opted into capering to the lascivious warblings of a lute.
Richard says that he is too "deformed" and "unfinished" to court an
"amorous looking glass," so he will exert himself toward casting a
shadow in this "weak and piping time of peace."  Wooing and winning the
beautiful Anne signals his success (and he again brings up looking in a
mirror).

(Incidentally, I don't mean to say that the "goodness" in the play is
not problematized by being associated with self-interest and sometimes
stupidity.)

Bonnie Melchior
University of Central Arkansas
 

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