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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: October ::
Re: Richard's "we"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1689  Wednesday, 6 October 1999.

[1]     From:   Tom Bishop <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Oct 1999 10:43:21 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

[2]     From:   Geoffrey Forward <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 05 Oct 1999 11:21:48 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

[3]     From:   Tony Rust <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Oct 1999 23:32:50 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

[4]     From:   John Ramsay <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Oct 99 23:53:50 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

[5]     From:   Iain Richard Wright <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Oct 1999 14:57:44 +1000 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

[6]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Oct 1999 16:00:12 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Bishop <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Oct 1999 10:43:21 -0500
Subject: 10.1679 Richard's "we"
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

Roy Flannagan asks who are Richard of Glouster's "we" in R3.

I think this is, as so often with Richard, a canny piece of theatrical
irony. The Yorkists-his family and their allies-certainly, though his
point there is that he is precisely NOT included in that exultant
capering "we"  ("But I..."). But also, I think, in his role of
Richard-as-prologue, the "we" does gesture towards "us all"-the audience
. It recruits us as quondam Yorkists, and at the same time underrecruits
us as Tricky Dick enthusiasts through the daring of that gesture. "Who
are you to say "we" to us?" we might say, but then the answer would be
"I am the man you love to be bullied be in just that way, chums!"  The
question of who is on whose side, who says "we" to whom, is all over the
place in this play. And those who think they know the answer are almost
always the weakest ("We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe!"). This
is just the first instance, a little taste of the problem.

Tom Bishop
Director,  Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities
Case Western Reserve University

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geoffrey Forward <
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Date:           Tuesday, 05 Oct 1999 11:21:48 -0700
Subject: 10.1679 Richard's "we"
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

>inappropriate.  He might be referring to members of his own family, but
>that seems unlikely.
>Can any of you answer the question who it is who shares Richard's winter
>of discontent?

I think it is clear that Richard is referring to his family in
particular and the  subjects of England in general.

The "winter of our discontent" refers to the just concluded war. "Our
discontent" is the discontent of the royal family and the citizens who
fought.

"Our house", of course, is Richard's family.

"Our brows" are the brows of the victors. "Our bruised arms" the arms of
the victors, perhaps of the whole country, both sides. "Our stern
alarums" the fighting armies. "Our dreadful marches" the fighting
armies.

Richard's thought, of course, is that everyone else, family, country, is
happy, but I'm not.

Geoff

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tony Rust <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Oct 1999 23:32:50 -0400
Subject: 10.1679 Richard's "we"
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

Regarding Ricard's use of "We"...

Certainly he draws the audience in with its usage, making them
co-conspirators throughout much of the play, and also makes them part of
the "we" of England, personifying the populous through the audience. He
could also be foreshadowing his desires, using the "royal we" before it
becomes his.

Tony Rust

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Ramsay <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Oct 99 23:53:50 EDT
Subject: 10.1679 Richard's "we"
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

Hi, I have always seen this as a mocking editorial 'we'. Standup
comedians still use it.

It also makes the shift to 'But I that am not made for sportive
tricks...' more dramatically intense and immediately introduces the
public and private Richard who will 'bustle' throughout the world of the
play.

John Ramsay
Welland Ontario
Canada

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Iain Richard Wright <
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Date:           Wednesday, 6 Oct 1999 14:57:44 +1000 (EST)
Subject: 10.1679 Richard's "we"
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

"Our house"  -  viz. the Yorkists.

Iain Wright

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Wednesday, 06 Oct 1999 16:00:12 +1000
Subject: 10.1679 Richard's "we"
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1679 Richard's "we"

>In that famous soliloquy that begins the play, Richard uses "our" and
>"we" freely, but the referent of the pronoun is left vague.  He is far
>from being king at this point, so that the royal we seems
>inappropriate.  He might be referring to members of his own family, but
>that seems unlikely.  He might also be taking the audience into his
>confidence, through the medium of the soliloquy.

He's talking about "our house", the victorious family/faction of
Yorkists.

Peter Groves,
Department of English,
Monash University
 

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