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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
Determined to Be a Villain
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1756  Monday, 8 September 2003

From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Sunday, 07 Sep 2003 11:15:54 -0400
Subject:        Determined to Be a Villain

In the opening soliloquy in RIII Richard catalogs his deformities and
then says (lines 28-30 [all numbering per Riv]):

    And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover
    To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
    I am determined to prove a villain
    And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

I have always read "determined" to mean "resolved."  Lately, however, it
occurred to me that it could as easily (and more dramatically) mean
"destined."  Richard could be asserting that his deformities cut him out
to be a villain regardless of his will.

Shakespeare used "determined" 19 times in the plays and once in the
sonnets (#46, l.11) (where it means "decided").  It was used most
frequently (five times) in RIII.  In addition to I.i.30, see: I.iii.15
("It is determin'd , not concluded yet"); III.ii.13 (decided); III.v.52
(decided); V.i.19 (destined).  In other plays the word also has shifting
meanings:

    TG/V, II.iv.181 (decided)
    TG/V,III.i.13 (decided)
    MA/N,V.iv.36 (resolved)
    M/M,III.i.69 (limited)
    M/M,V.i.258 (adjudicated)
    1HVI,IV.vi.9 (destined, limited)
    3HVI,IV.vi.56 (decided)
    KJ,II.i.584 (resolved, but "destined" is also possible ["resolv'd"
is repeated in the next line])
    2HIV,IV.v.82 (ended)
    TitAnd,V.ii.139 (planned)
    JC,V.i.99 (resolved)
    Oth,II.iii.227 (resolved?)
    A&C,III.vi.84 (destined, but decided is possible [destiny is invoked
in the line])
    Cor,II.ii.37 (decided about)

Any thoughts?

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