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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
New on the SHAKSPER Fileserver: MORESHAK.RICHARD3
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2006  Tuesday, 16 November 1999.

From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Tuesday, November 16, 1999
Subject:        New on the SHAKSPER Fileserver: MORESHAK.RICHARD3

As of today, SHAKSPEReans may retrieve Romuald Ian Lakowski's revision
of his essay "From History to Myth: The Misogyny of Richard III in
More's History and Shakespeare's Play" (MORESHAK.RICHARD3) from the
SHAKSPER fileserver.

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History and Shakespeare's Play", send a one-line mail message (without a
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From History to Myth: The Misogyny of Richard III in More's History and
Shakespeare's Play

By
Romuald Ian Lakowski

ABSTRACT
The theme of misogyny figures prominently in Shakespeare's Tragedy of
King Richard III. Shakespeare did not invent this theme; it also appears
in the historical accounts especially in Shakespeare's chief source Sir
Thomas More's History of Richard III. However, he did extensively modify
and freely elaborate on More's own brilliant portrayal of Richard's "war
with women". As well as illustrating the development of this theme in
both works, the paper also briefly considers certain archetypal motifs
in the play, some of which were suggested by the historical sources, in
particular those of Richard's "unnatural birth" and of the portrayal of
Richard as a wild boar (suggested by Richard's own coat of arms).

__________________________
1. The fact that Richard III stands out in the minds of many readers as
one of the great villains of English history is largely due to the
combined efforts of Sir Thomas More's History of King Richard III and
Shakespeare's Tragedy of King Richard the Third. Whatever one thinks of
the veracity of the early historical accounts of Richard III's reign,
there is no question that the portrayal of the character of Richard III
in More's history and Shakespeare's play is highly memorable. One
characteristic that stands out, especially in Shakespeare's play, is the
strong element of misogyny. Although the treatment of women in the
Tragedy of King Richard the Third partly reflects strong Senecan
influences,1 the tradition of misogyny is also to be found in the
historical sources, especially in More's History of King Richard III,2
which was incorporated into all the later chronicle sources, including
Hall and Holinshed (See Appendix A). Shakespeare, however, strikingly
transforms and expands parts of More's history in order to heighten
certain aspects of his portrayal of Richard III's antagonistic
relationships with all the female characters in the play.
 

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