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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Richard III and Soames Forsythe
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0465  Wednesday, 18 February 2004

From:           Dan Smith <
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Date:           Tuesday, 17 Feb 2004 14:49:48 -0000
Subject: 15.0350 Richard III and Soames Forsythe
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0350 Richard III and Soames Forsythe

Richard III certainly doesn't have this (Gollum/Smeagol) internal
struggle.  The night before Bosworth Richard has a moment of self-pity
but it doesn't even amount to remorse. Just before his death Edmund does
have moment of regret, "I pant for life: some good I mean to do Despite
of mine own nature" (V.iii.245). Iago is a classic vice apparently
without an internal conflict and is mute at the end. Clarence's
assassins do engage in ethical debate but also regard remorse as an
occupational hazard and do the deed anyway.  Camillo does not want to be
an assassin and reinforces it with reasoning. I can't think of a
character that refrains from "evil", knowing it to be so, following a
negotiation between their better and worse selves. Angelo perhaps comes
closest. Can anyone suggest an example?

Perhaps this concept that there is a good angel and a bad angel on each
shoulder is a Christian concept that Shakespeare doesn't endorse
(perhaps refraining from evil just makes bad theatre). Is the dramatised
battle between good and evil natures only a recent feature of literature?

Dan Smith

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