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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
Determined to Be a Villain
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1827  Monday, 22 September 2003

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Sep 2003 16:03:37 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1818 Determined to Be a Villain

[2]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Saturday, 20 Sep 2003 13:41:52 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1802 Determined to Be a Villain


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Sep 2003 16:03:37 -0700
Subject: 14.1818 Determined to Be a Villain
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1818 Determined to Be a Villain

Carol Barton graciously suggests a reason for the use of the passive
voice.  The question was, I believe, actually posed by Clifford, and I
was quoting him in the portion of the question which she ascribes to me.

Yours,
Sean.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Saturday, 20 Sep 2003 13:41:52 +0100
Subject: 14.1802 Determined to Be a Villain
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1802 Determined to Be a Villain

I must thank Clifford Stetner for the reminder of the soliloquy "Well,
say there is no kingdom then for Richard . . ."  More of this is
developed in R3, of course, but some things become more obvious in the
above passage.  Richard states absolutely clearly that the reason he
cannot pursue romantic ambitions is his physical deformity.  Richard's
view could be called naive in that a developed man with a good heart,
but with physical deformities, could find love with an able bodied woman
who saw beyond physical obstacles.  And after all Richard is a rich
member of the English aristocracy, so physical labour would not be a
problem.  But trying to pin naivety onto Richard just doesn't make
sense.  His knowledge of the human natures around him allow his
masterful manipulation of everyone in sight.  Therefore a further reason
may be more likely.

Psychopaths are extremely rare.  That is, criminals who produce no
justification for their crimes whatsoever.  Richard goes to great
lengths to blame his hateful crimes on his deformity.  And, while this
is, to me, clearly dishonest, he is brutally honest in that he knows
that he would always be unloved.  ". . . am I then a man to be beloved?
O monstrous fault, to harbour such a thought!"  This theme runs
throughout R3 in that he admits he is grossly unattractive but not for
the reasons he constantly states.  He is an ambitious, psychotic killer
but he could never flatly admit that. The deformity he incessantly
complains about is not in his body but in his brain and his heart.

Perhaps modern psychology would have saved Richard from himself, but
there are plenty of unchanged, dark spirits locked in solitary
confinement in our prison systems.  They too, very often, blame everyone
and everything for their deformed natures.

Clearly Richard could get a woman whenever he wanted.  He did so with
aplomb with Anne, and that after admitting he killed her young husband.
The point is that he had no affectionate feelings for women at all - and
again, he would never admit to that sort of impotency.  Rather like the
Groucho Marx comment that he would never join a club that would have him
as a member, Richard despises anyone that believes him to be a friend or
lover.

And so to determination.  It all depends on your view of the origin of
the corruption of Richard's soul.  It also depends on your view as to
whether Richard's soul could be saved by mortal man.  Richard alludes to
the fact that he was born bad - " love forswore me in my mother's
womb:"  He means the physical, of course, but the upshot is the dread
darkness of his mind.  For an unknown reason Richard's personality had
become corrupt.  Because he did not, or could not, face that fact, he
indulged it and made it a hundred times worse.  He was, in the end, his
own worse coward.  He could not face his own darkness.  From that moment
he was determined to be a villain.

SAM SMALL

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