Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: June ::
Re: William Catesby/Richard III
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1540  Friday, 21 June 2002

[1]     From:   Edward Stanton Brown <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Jun 2002 12:14:27 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1531 Re: William Catesby/Richard III

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Jun 2002 11:41:54 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1525 William Catesby/Richard III

[3]     From:   Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Jun 2002 11:24:45 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1531 Re: William Catesby/Richard III


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Stanton Brown <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 20 Jun 2002 12:14:27 -0400
Subject: 13.1531 Re: William Catesby/Richard III
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1531 Re: William Catesby/Richard III

William Catesby was a lawyer who rose from humble origins in
Northamptonshire through service to several nobles, including the Duke
of Buckingham, and was on both Edward IV's and Richard III's Council. He
was executed after Bosworth.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 20 Jun 2002 11:41:54 -0500
Subject: 13.1525 William Catesby/Richard III
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1525 William Catesby/Richard III

Without looking up Holinshed (which would be exceedingly difficult under
present circumstances), Catesby is the Cat of "The Cat, and the Rat, and
Lovell our Dog / Ruled all England under a hog," a Lancastrian rhyme.
The Rat is Ratcliff and the Hog is Richard, whose badge was a white
boar.

I would not concoct a theory of Richard being so extreme as a character
that he is meant to be taken as the reverse unless I were doing it as a
parody of theorizing. On the one hand, Richard fits with the extreme
villains that the author had already used in TA, and that he inherited
from Kyd and Marlowe (and they from Seneca). On the other hand, he fits
with the Tudor Myth that WS seems to have otherwise accepted -- as it
was both healthy and profitable to do.

Cheers,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 20 Jun 2002 11:24:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.1531 Re: William Catesby/Richard III
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1531 Re: William Catesby/Richard III

Perhaps Richard wasn't a hunchback or deformed. But Shakespeare's
version was and makes a specific point of reminding us of that, every
opportunity he gets.  And then, when his reign begins to fall apart, he
reminds us of his spiritual deformity as well. If I remember correctly,
his final soliloquy is the only soliloquy he gives where he doesn't
mention his physical deformity and chooses to dwell on his moral
bankruptcy. I think that Richard's deformity is an excuse to satirize
and embody the corruption of the spoils of war and the laziness of
political victories and smugness.

I think it can be a mistake to expect historical accuracy from
Shakespeare. At times, especially with King John, he deliberately
subverts and distorts historicism for his dramatic ends.

The genre of history itself is fraught with difficulties. Perhaps the
Folio listed them as such but the quartos often refer to them as
tragedies or the intriguing title - The Life and Death of King John.
Some of the tragedies themselves could be considered a kind of history
since characters like Lear, Macbeth, Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra are
legendary, yet historic figures. History is an elusive term. It is far
more important to grapple with the issues Shakespeare is dealing with in
the play, rather than the historical accuracy per se. Just as any
Hollywood movie should not be looked to for historical accuracy,
Shakespeare's storylines and characters, especially his "histories",
were devised and reconceived for public entertainment, not as a
historical textbook.

Brian Willis

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.