The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1756 Monday, 8 September 2003
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
TG/V, II.iv.181 (decided)
1HVI,IV.vi.9 (destined, limited)
KJ,II.i.584 (resolved, but "destined" is also possible ["resolv'd"
is repeated in the next line])
A&C,III.vi.84 (destined, but decided is possible [destiny is invoked
in the line])
Cor,II.ii.37 (decided about)
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