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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
Determined to Be a Villain
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1771  Thursday, 11 September 2003

[1]     From:   Ann Carrigan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Sep 2003 09:40:59 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1767 Determined to Be a Villain

[2]     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Sep 2003 10:39:31 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1767 Determined to Be a Villain


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ann Carrigan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Sep 2003 09:40:59 -0400
Subject: 14.1767 Determined to Be a Villain
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1767 Determined to Be a Villain

Kenneth Campbell <
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 > writes:

>R.III was Shakespeare's first attempt a tragedy.  Certainly the Greek
>and Roman fates might have influenced his earliest attempt as they did
>in R& J which projects a pair of star crossed lovers.
>
>With, "Now is the winter of "our" discontent the royal "we" is invoked
>ironically, which might be interpreted as the devil and I.
>
>The content of the next 12 lines is a lament against the peacefulness of
>Edward's reign.  Richard is at home on a horse at war but deformed on
>his feet for peace. His argument is that since nobody want
>to f--- me I'm going to f--- everyone.

I think of Richard III as Shakespeare's most psychologically complete
portrait of a villain. Most of his villains declare themselves or are
declared as just bad from their very nature. We can ascribe a lot of
possible ill treatment to Aaron's and Shylock's otherness-by-race, Don
John's and Edmund's bastardy, but with the sweep of the Henry VI plays
we see Richard before his villainy emerges.

We can see that his mother couldn't see past his physical deformities
and the superstitions surrounding them to really love him. We can see
that his father loved and valued him greatly, and that while York was
alive Richard was prized above being just the third son. We can also see
and hear how valiant Richard is. When his father and young brother are
brutally killed, it's Richard who repeatedly remembers and attempts to
revenge Rutland. Yet, despite his bravery and devotion to his father's
cause, upon York's death he is indeed placed down the line to the crown
from Edward. We see all this. We see Edward's political blunders and the
rise of the Woodvilles. As in no other of the plays, we see a villain in
the making.

Of course, in the sweep of those plays we see two villains in the making
and unmaking-- Queen Margaret and Richard. But Richard's is the more
compelling to me from a modern psychological standpoint. I think there
is a strong sense that Margaret is driven by her own huge need for power
as is Richard, but with Richard there is that compelling back-story of
abuse and neglect (from childhood) that make a fleshier character. That
said, it is hard to keep one's eyes off a well-played Margaret of Anjou.

Best regards,
Ann Carrigan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Sep 2003 10:39:31 +0000
Subject: 14.1767 Determined to Be a Villain
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1767 Determined to Be a Villain

Do other people think that? I guess I don't even see it as an *attempt*
at tragedy in the way T.A. could be, or the way Richard 2 or R&J could
be....

Curious,
Chris

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