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Richard III
by William Shakespeare



Topic: October: Richard III (1 of 58), Read 111 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 06:01 PM A lot of folks will be gone at the end of September, so I thought I'd post the reminder for the October discussion a little early. The October selection is Shakespeare's Richard III. I plan on checking out the audio tape from the library and listening to it while I read the text. I hope many of you will be able to join us for the discussion Newcomers are always welcome! Let's begin the official discussion on October 1. Ann
Topic: October: Richard III (2 of 58), Read 104 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 06:22 PM I'm looking forward to this one, big time, and would urge anyone who wants to get down and fully manic about this fine, intriguing, possibly unhistorical drama, to consider reading the Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey and viewing both the Ian McKellan and Laurence Olivier film versions. Oh, what the hell. Buy a ticket and go to London and catch a performance. This is important stuff, money no object. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (3 of 58), Read 103 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 06:29 PM I plan on joining you, but I may be a bit behind. I'm going to Maine for a week after Boston. I also plan on listening to the tape; I got a lot more out of Othello that way. Sherry
Topic: October: Richard III (4 of 58), Read 103 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 06:40 PM YES!!! YEEEESSS!! OPS* is kicking in big-time! I am enamored of this play--saw a wonderful version at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival a year ago!! I'll have to force aside time for this one! Over enthusiastically, Janet *Over-enthusiastic Puppy Syndrome (from which I suffer at times, but rarely with the lack of bladder control experienced by most OP's. . . )
Topic: October: Richard III (5 of 58), Read 106 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 07:06 PM In addition to Dick's excellent recommendation, I would like to plug the film (video) Looking for Richard starring Al Pacino. I have no idea how to describe this thing, but it is absolutely excellent! Steve
Topic: October: Richard III (6 of 58), Read 105 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 07:10 PM I forgot about that one. Excellent recommendation. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (7 of 58), Read 116 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 08:31 PM I second all of the above, Daughter of Time and the Al Pacino are particular favorites. Vampires pale beside Richard III. pres, being as timorous as piglet.
Topic: October: Richard III (8 of 58), Read 103 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Julie Lea (geeklite@email.com) Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 03:03 PM Just in case anyone is interested, there is a Richard III Society. Their website is at http://www.r3.org and they have some interesting information about the real Richard and how he compares with Shakespeare's version.
Topic: October: Richard III (9 of 58), Read 105 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 06:09 PM Great, Julie! I'll be checking this out. Are you a new poster? I've missed out on a lot lately. Janet
Topic: October: Richard III (10 of 58), Read 108 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 10:17 PM Thanks, Julie. I've always been curious about the historical Richard. Welcome to Classics Corner. Have you read Richard III? Ann
Topic: October: Richard III (11 of 58), Read 108 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Julie Lea (geeklite@email.com) Date: Thursday, September 14, 2000 08:51 AM Thanks. I am a new poster. A friend recommended C.R. and I was so happy to see other people interested in reading classics as well as contemporary books. I think I'm going to like it here. Julie
Topic: October: Richard III (12 of 58), Read 105 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Thursday, September 14, 2000 12:47 PM Welcome aboard, Julie -- I just did a review of my reading from the Classics Corner and Constant Reader Reading List Books and found to my surprise that I have read far more of the Classics Corner selections than of the others. I truly hadn't realized I was favoring one conference so heavily! Obviously Classics Corner is filling a need for me -- so glad you found it and us. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: October: Richard III (13 of 58), Read 103 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Thursday, September 14, 2000 03:34 PM Welcome Julie! And, thanks for the website! It's great to have another classics reader on board. I try to read the books from both book lists here, but usually if I have to choose, I choose the classic. My background was pretty deficient in them and I'm trying to make up for the lack. Would you tell us some of your favorites? Barb
Topic: October: Richard III (14 of 58), Read 107 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Julie Lea (geeklite@email.com) Date: Thursday, September 14, 2000 05:03 PM My favorites all seem to be recent (1940 on) American authors. I'm a big Truman Capote fan, I just love the way he can make me see a moment in a characters life with just a few words. I'm also very fond of Steinbeck, although I am occasionally put off by all the pages in some of his books. There are others, but these are the big two. I do like a lot of other authors, but I've been reading way too much junk lately and would like to get more involved with classics. Which is why I'm here. Julie
Topic: October: Richard III (15 of 58), Read 93 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Friday, September 15, 2000 06:26 AM I love both Steinbeck and Capote too, Julie. When my son started reading Steinbeck in high school, I wondered why he seems to have dropped in overall literary respect lately. I listened to Cannery Row on tape and was hooked again. He gets so much attention from high school English teachers and then nothing. Barb
Topic: October: Richard III (16 of 58), Read 75 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Julie Lea (geeklite@email.com) Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000 06:33 PM Is anyone else having trouble with this play? It seems like there are so many characters to keep track of - so many relationships to keep straight. I watched "Looking for Richard" which is a documentary about a production of Richard III and it's helped a little. I have the Laurence Olivier film on video to watch, but I think I'm going to break down and buy some Cliffs Notes (a little embarrassing to admit). I have a grasp of what's happening but I know I'm missing all kinds of things. Does anyone else feel the same way? Just curious. Julie
Topic: October: Richard III (17 of 58), Read 77 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000 06:43 PM Julie: I've read a lot of Shakespeare over the years, and this play in particular, many, many times. And every time it takes me a while to get into "Shakespeare mode" -- which is that mental frame where the language flows into my ear as regular modern English, and the characters are not only not confusing, but leap off the page at me. So you are definitely not alone. I'd recommend watching the Olivier while you read along in the play itself. Guaranteed to get you over that pesky Shakespeare hump in short order. Pretty soon, you'll be shouting out the lines with the rest of the cast. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (18 of 58), Read 74 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000 10:13 PM Julie, I'm having a lot of trouble keeping the characters straight. Because of this factor, I'm having much more trouble than I had reading MacBeth or King Lear. My husband, who has read much more Shakespeare than I have, says that this is not uncommon with this particular play. He also likes Richard III but doesn't think it's in the same league with the other two I mentioned. This might be an interesting thing to consider in our discussion. My Folger's edition has a sort of family tree that tries to show how all of these people are related. It helps, but I need more. Does anyone know of a website that addresses this issue concisely? Barb
Topic: October: Richard III (19 of 58), Read 76 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Thursday, September 21, 2000 10:55 PM The Wars of the Roses were so complex and so central to modern English history it's hard to distill them down to a thumbnail. Here's the about.com site which has a number of useful links. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (20 of 58), Read 83 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, September 22, 2000 01:55 PM Barb, I have the Pelican edition that also provides a sort of family tree, but its still a bit of a chore to keep everyone straight, isn't it? I just started it this morning and I'm hoping as I get more into it, the going gets easier. Its been awhile since I've read Shakespeare and I was relieved it wasn't just me... Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (21 of 58), Read 83 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000 12:52 PM I found this brief commentary of interest on Richard III, from the Globe Annotated Shakespeare my son got me for Christmas: Richard III, a Yorkist, has been unfairly treated by history, and this is mainly due to Shakespeare’s portrayal. In the play, Richard speaks of himself as having a hunchback and a withered arm, and he too is a usurper. But there is no historical evidence for any of this. What we have, then, in his physical condition, is a symbol for his awareness that he did not hold the throne by legal succession. Richard is paranoid, and with good reason. His reign, which lasted only two years, was one of tremendous turmoil and insecurity. He could trust nobody, and the battle scene at the end of the play (perhaps the most brillaint battle scene in all dramatic literature) reaches its apex with Richard’s famous cry, “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” This, a moment before his death, is his final statement on the precariousness of his rule: surely no English king who held the throne legally could ever trade his kingdom to save his life. Although Richard was killed by his enemies, he was just as much hounded to death by his own conscience. Shakespeare concentrates on the psychological burden of the usurper in these plays, and the line of dissolution traced between Henry IV and Richard III is one of the great triumphs of his art. --Solomon J. Schepps *** Quick question, for someone who knows more history than me, whom are legion: the ambiguity of the way this first paragraph is phrased makes it seem that the usurping, and not just the physical infirmities, might be invented. But from the rest of the text, I take it that the usurping and dissolution stuff are pretty much factual, right? And pray tell, in 2,500 words or less, what is a Yorkist and how does that figure in? (For some reason, “straight” history has always been very, very hard reading for me. It’s almost as if my brain has an impervious barrier to taking it in.) >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: October: Richard III (22 of 58), Read 86 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000 01:35 PM Dale and all, I found this website that provides not only individual Act summaries but much, much more. http://www.classicnote.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/richardiii.html Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (23 of 58), Read 78 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000 01:39 PM Hoo-boy. Richard III takes place at the end of what are generally called the Wars of the Roses -- dynastic conflicts between the royal houses of Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose). These extended over a good portion of the 15th century, and essentially came to an end when Richard was killed at Bosworth and Henry Tudor (Lancastrian) assumed the throne as Henry VII (marrying Edward IV' daughter to unite the two families). The underlying causes of all this, originally, was the weakness and insanity of Henry VI (Lancastrian), greed and power madness of the Duke of Warwick (Yorkist; the 'Kingmaker') and never-ending, losing wars in France as the old English provinces were slowly, bloodily and unprofitably yielded back to the French. In this time of turmoil and political upset (at least 30 years preceding Bosworth), the Yorkists kept pressing for control of government -- protectorships of Henry, seats on the royal council, etc. These conflicts frequently spelled over from political intrigue to warfare. Ultimately, a York got the throne (Edward IV) and threw Henry VI into the tower; then the Lancastrians rallied and released Henry who got the throne back, then they lost it again. Or maybe it was the reverse. Anyway, eventually Edward IV dies, and leaves 12 year old son Edward the V. Richard, Duke of York, is appointed protector of this kid, and eventually gets himself crowned king, and finally hacked to death by Lancastrians at Bosworth. Dunno if that helps, but it's a thumbnail and probably partially accurate. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (24 of 58), Read 81 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000 01:48 PM Great thumbnail, Dick! Thanks. Very helpful. (So is the Website with the act summaries, Beej.) That chain of historical events reminds me of the supposed ancient curse, "May you live in interesting times." I'm sure glad I wasn't around in that period. Unless I could have been a playwright on the winning side, of course.{G} >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: October: Richard III (25 of 58), Read 79 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000 02:01 PM OK, DALE, now we are all in the soup. We were bound to be, anyway, because the Richard III story (whichever one you are talking about and please make that clear when you comment {G}) is a complicated mess, like entrails, and we should look forward to many happy hours of inditing "Yes, but . . " From the quote you posted, I would agree that: "Richard III, a Yorkist, has been unfairly treated by history, and this is mainly due to Shakespeare’s portrayal." But to that part of the quote saying: "What we have, then, in his physical condition, is a symbol for his awareness that he did not hold the throne by legal succession." I say, Says Who ? Shakespeare is writing symbols about R3's mental state ? About Yorkist: Those supporters of the House of York in their power maneuverings and claims of the throne. Begin Edward III, grandfather of Richard II Richard II, murdered by Henry Bolingbroke, who is then Henry IV, an usurper. whose son Henry V and grand-son Henry IV continue the rule as the usurping line (all Lancastrians, by the way) Henry IV, husband of Margaret, is incompetent; his son and heir (another Edward) is killed in a battle with the Yorkists and Edward IV, son of Richard, Duke of York, who was also seeking the throne, is crowned king. Edward IV has as brothers: George, Duke of Clarence, AND Richard, Duke of Glouster, later RICHARD III. And away we go ! pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ?
Topic: October: Richard III (26 of 58), Read 76 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Sunday, September 24, 2000 03:55 PM Was Richard II murdered or killed at the Battle of Wakefield? Or am I getting my kings mixed up with my dukes again? The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (27 of 58), Read 80 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Monday, September 25, 2000 10:47 AM The best handy-dandy source of information about English kings, and very informative, too, is: http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon33.html pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ?
Topic: October: Richard III (28 of 58), Read 80 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Monday, September 25, 2000 02:58 PM I want you all to know, as I sit in front of my computer and read RICHARD III, I have been going back, reading over all your tremendously helpful posts and browsing the various links. This has been a real help for me. I think it was Dick who said it may, at first, be a bit difficult to get into the Shakespearean "lingo", but as you go on it becomes easier and more familiar. And I find this to be true. Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (29 of 58), Read 73 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Monday, September 25, 2000 02:05 PM Shakespeare's History Plays are, generally, about claims to the throne in and about 1400 and the doings engendered by such claims. With Richard III's death, and the accession of Henry VII (Henry Tudor), the Lancaster and the York claims are realized because Henry Tudor (Lancaster) marries Edward IV"s daughter, Elizabeth (York). But Henry Tudor (Henry VII), though descended from Edward III, was, so to speak, neither legitimate nor descended in the male line. John of Guant, Duke of Lancaster, Son of Edward III, had three wives. By his first wife he sired Henry IV (Bolingbroke). By his third wife, Catherine Swynford, "Governess to the Dukes daughter by his first wife, became John's mistress in 1388. All their children were before they were married. They were ligitimated later by the Pope." One of the children was John Beaufort, Marquess of Somerset. His child, John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, was father of Margaret Beaufort who married Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, the two becoming the parents of Henry VII All square and above board. And I promise no more genealogy. pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ?
Topic: October: Richard III (30 of 58), Read 70 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Monday, September 25, 2000 03:49 PM Well, Pres, I thought the genealogy lesson was terrific, myself -- but then I am a genie nut when I have the time and opportunity. But my real comment here is on your sign off -- not only that you have to see what you say to know what you think but if your tongue gets wrapped around your eye-teeth you may not SEE what you've said -- okay, I'm going quietly now. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: October: Richard III (31 of 58), Read 70 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2000 03:16 PM In regards to Shakespeare's somewhat slanted presentation of Richard III, doesn't this basically reflect Shakespeare's own political stance of the times? Wasn't his respect for historical truth relative to his own personal political beliefs? I think this quote from Alexandre Dumas might aptly fit Shakespeare as well: "True, I have raped history, but it has produced some beautiful offspring." Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (32 of 58), Read 66 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 07:37 PM BEEJ asks: In regards to Shakespeare's somewhat slanted presentation of Richard III, doesn't this basically reflect Shakespeare's own political stance of the times? I would say NO. I think Shakespeare and political stance don’t go together. Shakespeare wasn’t writing to change the government, to propose a constitutional monarchy or a commonwealth. I know of no evidence that Shakespeare thought "politically." I think it a fallacy to attribute attitudes to Shakespeare based on his writings. He was telling stories in play form. The rest is conjecture. No doubt it is a wonderful game to play; academics do it using enough paper to reforest not only the British Isles but the colonies as well. But if we are going to play, please announce the rules; I refuse to play under A. L. Rowse. somewhat slanted presentation of Richard III "Slanted" from where ? Yes, Shakespeare’s picture of Richard III does not accord with what we now know. But there is no evidence that S. distorted the history available to him in his time. (We don’t know what was available to him; we know what is available to us from his time, but that’s another story.) The play, Richard III, contains historical characters dead at the time of the action, but there is no reason to believe that S was including them knowing that he was falsifying fact for either "political" or dramatic purpose. pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ? Indeed?
Topic: October: Richard III (33 of 58), Read 72 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 07:47 PM Pres, I will give you, the term "political stance" is really not a good one. However, I do feel his attitudes are reflected in his writings, for whatever purpose, be it as a hunched back as a visual aid to Richard's handicapped personality, or whatever. I do feel Shakespeare did indeed slant history, if not for so called "political" purpose, then definitely for dramatic purpose. And I was not complaining, mind you, or even being critical. As I stated in my quote of Dumas, It was perhaps a historical raping, but it did indeed produce beautiful offspring. Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (34 of 58), Read 68 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 08:11 PM BEEJ IMHO, Shakespeare slanted history in R3 by creating in the character a gleeful villain relishing his naughtinesses (archaic: wicked, immoral) . All of the acts attributed to R3 in the play were the common everyday acts of the powerful in R3's time and the years leading up to it. The Duke of Gloucester probably (CONJECTURE!) thought of them as no more than removing pawns from a chess board. (Apologies, David M.) pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ?
Topic: October: Richard III (35 of 58), Read 69 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 08:31 PM Actually, Pres, I believe Shakespeare was not the original creator of Richard III as a "gleeful villain". I've read he used the accounts of Sir Thomas More in his HISTORY OF RICHARD III, as a source for his (Shakespeare's) descriptions. According to Peter Holland of the Shakespeare Institute, More's biography showed that "Richard's life was already teetering on the brink of drama." Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (36 of 58), Read 65 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Julie Lea (geeklite@email.com) Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000 10:10 AM Another thing to keep in mind is that the people of England firmly believed Henry VII had delivered them from the strife they had lived with during the war of the roses. And when Shakespeare wrote this play the granddaughter of Henry VII was on the throne. An interesting note: When Henry VII took the throne there was a propaganda campaign against Richard. However, it was never said (during that time) that Richard had killed the two princes in the tower. I think we find people being killed for political gain horrifying by contemporary standards, but it was fairly common during that time. Edward IV had Henry VI put to death in the tower and much later Henry VIII would have two wives convicted of treason and put to death because he was tired of them. Just a thought (or two) Julie Lea
Topic: October: Richard III (37 of 58), Read 62 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000 01:42 PM So, what you are saying, Julie, is that Shakespeare's account of Richard III is based on the atmosphere of Shakespeare's time and place? I have read there is actually very little known about Shakespeare, but that he expressed his personal views and beliefs so totally within his plays and sonnets, (in affect his own biographer) that we, ironically, probably know more about him than we do almost any other writer. Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (38 of 58), Read 60 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000 04:56 PM I think we do know that royal favor was important for the support of the arts at that time -- certainly, that wonderful movie Shakespeare in Love makes that point. And, if you were angling for royal support, it would probably not be your best tack to write a play about how the Queen's grandfather was a usurping blackguard. We saved such revisionist stuff for our own, more enlightened age. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (39 of 58), Read 59 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000 07:57 PM (True, Dick,,nowadays we would simply write a book about the Queen's grandfather, make a million bucks AND get to escort some rich and famous celebrity to the Academy Awards.) Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (40 of 58), Read 54 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, September 29, 2000 09:55 PM This is from the BARRON'S BOOK NOTES on RICHARD III.. "Shakespeare's plays explored a number of concerns that reflected currant issues. Foremost among these was the fear of a return to the civil disorder of the 15th century that had preceded the accession to the throne of the Tudor monarchs...Would the fragile peace between domestic factions remain secure after the death of Elizabeth? These were the questions he had to confront when writing the drama of Richard III's rise to power and rapid downfall...In order to make a claim for his queen-and against the Yorkist claim- Shakespeare studied the history books available at the time....The history books financed by the Tudor court sang of Richmond and portrayed Richard III as an evil man...he juggled historical facts by rearranging people and places to support dramatic tension." Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (41 of 58), Read 53 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000 10:19 AM Beej, I just finished dipping into a book called Shakespeare's Kings by historian John Norwich. As you said, Shakespeare did manipulate time sequence and historical facts for dramatic purposes and Norwich details these discrepancies. However, Norwich didn't leave much doubt in my mind that old king Richard was definitely a bad 'un. (Of course, one might legitimately ask, who of his power grabbing peers was not?) Norwich is quite certain that Richard murdered his nephews so that he could be king. He rejects the theory proposed in Josephine Tey's "brilliant" The Daughter of Time that this accusation was a libel invented by Richard's Tudor successors. His primary source for Richard's guilt is Sir Thomas Moore, a man who was very much respected by his contemporaries and who was later canonized a saint. This latter fact presumably creates some confidence in his truthfulness. Richard was ruthless and more than willing to execute anyone in his way but Norwich absolves him of the death of his brother Clarence (their brother King Edward V ordered this with some justification) and doubts that he was responsible for the death of his wife Anne, who more likely died from TB than poison. He also says that Shakespeare greatly exaggerated Richard's physical deformities, pointing out that a great warrior like Richard could hardly have been a hunchback with a useless withered arm. "But contemporary chroniclers are all agreed that he was unusually small and at least slightly deformed, with his right shoulder higher than his left" and "the left arm must certainly have been damaged in some degree." It seems that Shakespeare made Richard even more villainous than he was in fact, but that he had plenty of material to work with. In any case, Shakespeare was a dramatist, not an historian. He would have been a fool if he had cast any doubt on the legitimacy of the Tudor dynasty, which was established with the defeat of our friend Richard III. Ann
Topic: October: Richard III (42 of 58), Read 52 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000 11:06 AM Note: The Duke of Clarence was ordered killed by his brother Edward IV not Edward V. Clarence had been a rebel and a trouble maker for many years, changing sides as the wind blew. Edward V, son of Edward IV, nephew of Richard III, was one of the "Princes in the Tower" whom we think was murdered by R3 - who else had the power and would dare to do it ? Also: I have read that Anne Neville, the Anne of R3, was a great friend of his, they having been raised together in childhood. Sir Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers, was very highly placed at the Tudor Court. His history of R3 is at odds with his reputation for integrity. And we don't know whether his sources were any other than the intention of serving his master as long as he kept his head. pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ?
Topic: October: Richard III (43 of 58), Read 55 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000 03:32 PM I have here on my lap Charles Dickens's A Child's History of England, a marvelous book I've found really helpful as a supplement, in weeding through the play. I'd like to share an excerpt or two from Dickens's own unique point of view, but let's consider the animal "historical accuracy" first for a moment. What is it, exactly? Orwell claimed it was pretty much an oxymoron, in that man, inspired by his own political motivations, recorded history; therefore, its "accuracy" was inherently flawed. Dickens might have been as much victimized by dramatization of historical events as anyone, but was perhaps more cognizant than some, of Orwell's later observation. Anyway, here are Dickens's findings on the matter of the little princes and their murder: The late King's eldest son, the Prince of Wales, called EDWARD after him, was only thirteen years of age at his father's death. He was at Ludlow Castle with his uncle, the Earl of Rivers. The prince's brother, the Duke of York, only 11 years of age, was in London with his mother. The boldest, most crafty, and most dreaded nobleman in England at that time was their uncle RICHARD, Duke of Gloucester, and everybody wondered how the two poor boys would fare with such an uncle for a friend or foe. . .(197) . . . (Later)King Richard stayed a week at Warwick. And from Warwick he sent instructions home for one of the wickedest murders that ever was done--the murder of the two young princes, his nephews, who were shut up in the Tower of London. Dickens then gives vivid details of the murder of the little princes, including a reference to those evil demons, John Dighton and Miles Forest, who smothered the two princes with the bed and pillows, and carried their bodies down the stairs, and buried them under a great heap of stones at the staircase foot. . (203). Dickens also describes Richard as . . .a clever man, fair of speech, and not ill-looking, in spite of one of his shoulders being something higher than the other. . . and includes a scene in which Richard pulls up his sleeve and shows it to Lord Hastings, insisting that Jane Shore caused the deformity through witchcraft (199). I thought this might interest some of you. Published first in 1851, the book is dedicated to Dickens's "own dear children, whom I hope it may help, bye and bye, to read with interest larger and better books on the same subject." I hope they were as grateful as I. Janet
Topic: October: Richard III (44 of 58), Read 60 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000 03:49 PM Whether or not Shakespeare was "biased" in his portrayal of various historical characters is to me a sort of a moot point, I guess. How does anyone avoid such bias? He was a great of all greats, perhaps, but he was also human. . . My favorite reference to Richard is made by Queen Margaret, I believe, who calls him lots of things, but the one I like best is " . . .that bottl'd spider. . ..";spider, OK, as she notes in another passage, ". . .when he bites,/His venom tooth will rankle to the death. . ." but why "bottl'd"? Bottled by what? His physical deformity, also (I really do think) a symbol of his moral deformity? Those whom he considers his enemies? Something else? I'm scanning for the quote and can't find it. Maybe it wasn't Margaret. Can anyone help? Janet
Topic: October: Richard III (45 of 58), Read 59 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000 04:29 PM For some reason, I liked Margaret. She just haunted Richard, didn't she?! I loved it when Richard called her (Act1;Scene3) a "hateful withered hag", and she doesn't miss a beat, but comes right back at him with an insult that is so true, there is no rebuking..she calls him an "abortive rooting hog." It is in this scene she calls him not only a bottled spider, but also a bunched- backed toad. Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (46 of 58), Read 64 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000 04:45 PM Pres, You could certainly be right, but when I visited the Tower of London this month the Beefeater guide indicated there was little doubt Richard disposed of the princes. If not him, than who? But as Janet has pointed out, all of this historical conjecture is a digression from the play itself. Ann
Topic: October: Richard III (47 of 58), Read 62 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000 06:19 PM ANN I certainly agree that Richard III was most likely responsible for the death of his two young nephews, Edward V and the Duke of York. Almost everybody believes so, mostly on the basis of Shakespeare's drama, but not on the basis of factual evidence. Note that I say Edward V; he was not just a prince, but King. It is quite likely that Richard III murdered the King rather than have him, at 13 years, in the control of his mother and her family, the Woodvilles. But then Henry Bolingbroke murdered Richard II after deposing him to become Henry IV. JANET The post of the Dickens is great. pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ?
Topic: October: Richard III (48 of 58), Read 66 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Saturday, September 30, 2000 08:07 PM "When you strike at a king, you must kill him." --Attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (49 of 58), Read 70 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 08:10 AM I agree that the history and the play can be separate animals, but I certainly think that each adds to the appreciation of the other. This play, as I said earlier, has been very hard for me to follow because I keep getting the people mixed up and don't always understand their familial and political connections. The capsule histories presented here have straightened all of that out a bit. Pres, I've printed out that Britannia site. Thanks so much for this concise history. It makes sense to me that Shakespeare was a pragmatist. In order to survive, his plays had to appeal to the royalty in power which must have affected his presentation of history. Barb
Topic: October: Richard III (50 of 58), Read 46 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 12:27 PM Beej, I like Margaret too; she minces no words and is SO colorful and caustic with her insults! But I'm frustrated--I scanned that scene twice for the "bottl'd spider" line and somehow missed it both times. Seems my scanning powers are waning. . .I'd thought it was in that scene. I think another reason I like Margaret is she seems the perfect foil to Anne, who knows what Richard is but lets him "hypnotize" her into marriage and complete exploitation. Margaret seems the embodiment of outrage and unabashed accusation to me. I like her style and admire her courage. Another question--which may lead back to the "bottled" aspect of the spider question--is there to be any sympathy for Richard at all from audiences/readers? How does he compare to Macbeth in this light and otherwise? It may be too soon for this type of analysis, but these are the questions that have fascinated me through the years. Janet
Topic: October: Richard III (51 of 58), Read 42 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 02:28 PM I find with Shakespere that its super helpful and important to read the first couple of pages very carefully. I think 'historical correctness' is immaterial to Shakespere, when he writes of royalty he is using them for their charisma factor not for politics. It is important to him and now us to see that people 'with everything' can act like the cheerleader mum and kill her daughters compitition...royalty is drivien by ambition and so are the 'little people'. It really doesn't matter that this is royaLTY in the story, but it adds glamour to morals and behaviours and ambitions. there is something wrong with Richards body. He says 'I'm not shap'd for sportive tricks'. Which means hes not good in bed or able to be good in bed. He's also not attractive to the ladies. I think just a little Shakespere has amplified his handicaps so that we may feel we understand Richards bitterness. He is a sore loser and bitter, but I think we are able to almost feel sorry for him in that opening speech. He says that now that war has secured the state, why are not the people happy and bound together/united. Instead of being united and there fore prepared to conquer any enemy, there is in-fighting. there is maybe adultery? He sees the sexual antics of his peers as wasteful now and he can take advantage of them...ooh hes sucha bad guy! I feel for him when he says that he is in this world half made. He is not grown up completely....raw half finished. He is implying that god has let him be like this and even dogs are afraid of him and hate him. I think his deformity is also associated with the idea of evil. We have always had the icon of cripple or handicap as evil, or sinister---it is his left side that is most described, and left is traditionally thought of as evil-ish. anyway, I love Shakespere I border on being a Shakespere kook... and am looking forward to reading this today and the discussions.... Hey I loved the idea of the movie recommendations of Ian MacCleeans and Al Pacino(I haven't seen that one) and I'm also going to rent, The Good-bye Girl!!!!(yes, there is R3 in there too anybody remember?) Candy giddy on the bard
Topic: October: Richard III (52 of 58), Read 43 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 02:29 PM I am laughing so hard at my spelling of Shakespeare, sorry you all out there, I've got my act together now....
Topic: October: Richard III (53 of 58), Read 45 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 03:20 PM Janet, Try Act1, Scene 3. line 242 for the bottled spider reference. There really is attractiveness to Richard... its part of his ability to manipulate so completely. It explains why Anne agrees to marry him..why Clarence trusted him completely. He's just so lustily and passionately self serving, it becomes funny! Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (54 of 58), Read 35 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 08:50 PM For anyone else struggling with Shakespeare like I am, there's a new book out called: Shakespeare: The Basics by Sean McEvoy, Routledge, London and NY. (Apparently this is part of a series: Philosophy: The Basics, etc.) It looks like a nice overview of Shakespeare's language, stage action, etc. There's a section on each 'genre', e.g. Understanding History. I also noticed that the Folger's series had similar helps along with each play. So, I think I'll go read the 'helps'. It wasn't encouraging to see that those of you who know/like Shakespeare have had trouble with this play! Bo
Topic: October: Richard III (55 of 58), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 10:15 PM I've rented the Ian McKellen version of RICHARD III and Al Pacino's LOOKING FOR RICHARD. Will see them this week. So, far I've only read the play and it's for the first time and I haven't seen the play performed, so it's all new to me. The scene I'm most anxious to see is the early scene between Richard III and Anne. How in the world does she end up marrying him?? I don't get it. It seems this must be a scene which only works with great acting. Robt
Topic: October: Richard III (56 of 58), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Strahan (tales@1001knights.com) Date: Monday, October 02, 2000 08:00 AM I too was a bit baffled at how she went from loathing him to that bit of flirtation at the end of the scene, but then she is back to loathing him when she has to marry him. I found her to be a confusing character. One of the things that just stunned me and delighted me about this play was the sheer number of insults per page. This play really packs them in. I don't think I've ever read anything where the insults and disparaging comments were packed as thick! ;-) Of course, it's not just words, either; fair amount of blood spilt, too. I told my husband that Richard III made MacBeth look like a children's teaparty by comparison. ;-) ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: October: Richard III (57 of 58), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Monday, October 02, 2000 08:03 PM Anne actually seems to soften after Richard says he killed King Henry because of her great beauty. She says: "I would I knew thy heart." Suddenly she isnt as convinced he is as a "diffused infection of a man.." Then, as he continues, she seems to take on the blame of his hideous deeds: "If I had thought that, I tell thee, homicide, These nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks." Richard pulls all the stops out. He uses tactic after tactic, and in less than 5 minutes time, has her convinced he loves her, and has killed because of her. "And wet his grave with my penitent tears..." He avows his remorse. Anne replies: "With all my heart, and much it joys me too To see you are become so penitent." She leaves, and Richard seems as surprised as anybody that she actually fell for all this balderdash... "And yet to win her, all the world to nothing! Ha! Hath she forgot already that brave prince....?" Oh Richard, you low life cad, you!!!!! Oh Anne, dumbdumbdumbdumbdumb....... Beej
Topic: October: Richard III (58 of 58), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 06:14 PM mel·o·dra·ma n. 1.a. A drama, such as a play, film, or television program, characterized by exaggerated emotions, stereotypical characters, and interpersonal conflicts. Fit ? Pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ?
Topic: October: Richard III (58 of 71), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Felix Miller (felix3rd@bellsouth.net) Date: Wednesday, October 04, 2000 08:38 PM Susan remarks on the number of insults per page; check out the Falstaff/Hal exchanges in HIV pt 1. Great stuff. I, too, find Anne's speedy acceptance of Richard's suit incomprehensible. If WS were a contemporary writer, I might speculate that he was showing the helplessness of women in a chauvinistic society. But then there is Queen Margaret, talk about invective! There were many strong women in Shakespeare's plays, I don't think he was anything but a compleat humanist. Greetings from north of the river, Felix Miller
Topic: October: Richard III (59 of 71), Read 37 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, October 04, 2000 09:46 PM Anne seems to be a person who is made dumb by her vanity. Shakespeare does those kinds of human frailties so well. Barb
Topic: October: Richard III (61 of 71), Read 40 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000 08:16 PM I finished Richard III today and just caught up on all these great notes. I had hoped to rent a tape and follow the text while I listened to it. However, perhaps because Richard III is not generally in the high school curriculum, I couldn't find a tape at the library. I did manage to borrow a BBC video of the play which I plan to watch now that my son has so kindly shown me how to work the VCR with our new equipment (well, "newer" equipment; it's probably 2 years old but I don't usually get to be in charge of the audio-video machinery). I just clicked on the first scene of the video and noted that the actor playing Richard III makes him look very handicapped indeed. Not only does he have a bad arm, but he more or less lurches across the stage. Hard to believe that such a man could convince any woman of his suitability as a mate. The early scenes with Anne are my favorite, perhaps because an eon ago I was involved in a teen theater group and played Anne in class. I am anxious to see how that scene plays in the video because it is almost impossible for me to believe that she could willingly accept him. I obviously couldn't pull it off. Richard is certainly a smooth talker. In some ways it is fun to watch someone so out and out bad. Candy pointed out that the opening scene arouses some sympathy for Richard, but I think it is very quickly dissipated. Janet, I don't think that Richard III has the depth of Macbeth because he is so one-sided. He has bad dreams at the end when the ghosts of the people he has killed haunt him, and he admits that even he dislikes himself, but I didn't feel a twinge of pity at his passing. The video may make me feel differently. I also had a lot of trouble with the characters in this play. The historical characters were apparently so familiar to his audience that Shakespeare didn't feel a need to explain them in the play. I appreciate the historical links people have posted. Almost all the rules during this period were named Edward or Henry, which doesn't help. Robt, have you watched the Ian McKellan version? I love that guy. Ann
Topic: October: Richard III (62 of 71), Read 41 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000 05:26 PM Ann, Good points, all. I didn't mind Richard's death, either; in fact, it seemed overdue and fitting. I saw this play performed beautifully at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery, and the actress who played Anne portrayed her as intricate and complex: tentative and confused about things; naive, but sad and perhaps anxious to cling to something that seemed to have potential for good as well as evil. It worked. Pres, Melodramatic? No. The criteria you listed seem to fit a satire or a soap opera, but never Shakespeare. His emotions are the products of the most intense human situations, and are PASSIONATE or inconsistent(as we humans are), often, but never exaggerated or overdone--and stereotypical characters?--Never.IMHO. Janet
Topic: October: Richard III (63 of 71), Read 37 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000 06:42 PM JANET Of Shakespeare you say, "His emotions are . . . never exaggerated or overdone . ." That is, his characters' emotions. IMHO, Margaret's curses are exaggerated and overdone. Richard's self characterization is exaggerated and overdone. The stage Richard is a roaring exaggeration of the historical Richard, which is what WS, or his sources, intended. To deny Shakespeare melodrama is rather hard on our greatest dramatist. And don't forget Titus Andronicus, though it is probably more Grand Guignol than melodrama. Pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ? (Psst! Do you think he knows what he thinks ?)
Topic: October: Richard III (64 of 71), Read 39 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000 05:11 AM Pres --- LOL over this extended version of your current tagline! > >How do I know what I think >until I see what I say ? >(Psst! Do you think he knows >what he thinks ?) > My own answer to the question -- which I realize was not intended to be answered -- is THIS: We probably shouldn't care whether he knows what he thinks -- as long as he continues to share his thoughts with us on CR because WHATEVER he thinks and shares has a tendency to make US think -- which is good for all of us! Dottie -- thinking life might be truly awful if we all knew what we really thought about everything and never gave it any further thought ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: October: Richard III (65 of 71), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000 08:50 AM Pres, To me, the phrase "exaggerated or overdone" implies a lack of realism. We don't know much about the "historical Richard" or his "true" personality, and it's true that Shakespeare altered history to write his plays--he took artistic licence to do, and THIS "lack of accuracy" is I think a given. That's not the lack of realism implied in the definition, though. TO ME, the idea that something is "melodramatic" or "overdone" is to say it is TOO dramatic or TOO "done," whatever that means. My response is, "too 'done' or too 'dramatic' for WHOM? Exaggeration in terms of projection of voice is usually necessary in any drama. I'll grant that sound level is "exaggerated" during Shakespeare's plays, especially during times of great emotional turmoil. And, again, many of the characters and plots of his dramas involve these types of situations. But I do not see these scenes as MELOdramatic. This term implies a pejorative, a superficiality as well, and its application to the Bard oversimplifies the emotional intricacy and intensity Shakespeare is known for. Janet
Topic: October: Richard III (66 of 71), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000 08:56 AM One other point about the "melodrama" of this play--didn't the term include "stereotypical characters" as one of its definitive qualities? I just don't see any of S's major characters as stereotypes. Janet
Topic: October: Richard III (67 of 71), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000 10:01 AM Janet, I think that many of Shakespeare's characters are archetypal, which is different only slightly than stereotypical. But that slight difference means the world. Archetypal characters resonate with us all. Stereotypes seem tired and underdeveloped. What's your take on it? Sherry
Topic: October: Richard III (68 of 71), Read 32 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000 11:25 AM Pres, you bring up a good point about realism. This is a matter of personal taste and philosophy regarding art. Sure there has been a trend(and I call it a delusion) to make art more and more 'realistic' since Renaisance. Realism is really impossible to achieve in art and also comes down really to personal needs in art because of ones taste. Whether something is realistic doesn't make it better art except to someone who enjoys realism in their art. My taste says, that Monet and Picasso and Salle are just a s realistic as Rembrant or Byzantine. One time a film prof said opening lecture, any time an audience relates to a character in film is a form of insanity, because its just light on a wall. Same as in a book its figures on paper. But its darn fun becomming emotioanlly involved and adds to understanding the writers intent. I love Douglas Sik movies but they are so melodramatic with sugar on top, but still there is a truth in them... Truth can come in diferent packagges, doesn't decrease its insight...??????
Topic: October: Richard III (69 of 71), Read 37 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000 11:27 AM I have watched about half the BBC video of this play and it is excellent. While reading the play I also felt that it was melodramatic. Richard seemed somewhat over the top, like those villains in old fashioned melodramas that you love to hate. However, actually watching the play performed adds an entirely new dimension. The actor playing Richard makes him a much more subtle and interesting character. This Richard is an extremely bitter man, who deeply resents his lameness, his hunchback (not too pronounced), his useless arm, and his small stature. He has never experienced real love, even of himself, so he will substitute power. The only pleasure he finds in life is conning the rest of the characters into thinking he is a good man with their interests at heart, while behind their backs he plots their destruction. Watching Richard manipulate the rest of the characters is fascinating. He does a wonderful job of seeming absolutely sincere as a loving brother and uncle, only giving himself away to the audience with those many asides. As for Anne, her first reaction to his declaration of love is horror and fear. Her father, husband, and father-in-law are all dead. Who will protect her against Richard? In her world, an upper-class woman had to ally herself with a man in order to survive. As Richard continues to woo her with sweet words, and he is very good indeed, I think she continues to fear him but clings to the hope that his repentance and love are sincere because she may not have much choice in the matter. Ann
Topic: October: Richard III (70 of 71), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Sunday, October 08, 2000 01:43 PM JANET Our discussion seems to turn on our differing values for the word "melodrama". I think of the word as descriptive, not pejorative. Given the desire of some of our best actors to play Richard and given the history of the play down the years, one doesn't belittle the play. But there are few plays in the Shakespeare canon that match Richard III for tearing up the scenery in such a forthright manner. I know that to label a play "a melodrama" carries a strong suggestion of "You don't want to waste your time on that", but to see the play or read it and accept it and then describe it as "a melodrama" would not have that connotation without further additional pejorative material. I think many actors (and directors) see R3 as a particular challenge - "How can I do this without having the character and the whole fall into ridiculousness ?" An aside: Reading about the play, I have been struck by the fact that while there are fairly frequent performances, the critics are less eager to spend time on the subject. Pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ? (Psst! Do you think he knows what he thinks ?)
Topic: October: Richard III (71 of 71), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Monday, October 09, 2000 09:12 AM I finished watching the 3 hour Richard III video, which originally appeared on BBC TV around 1982 or 1983. Ron Cook, whom I had never heard of before, did an excellent job of playing Richard III. Zoe Wanamaker (Sam's daughter?) played Lady Anne. There was an emotional intensity in Cook's performance which made Richard at least partially sympathetic throughout the movie, although it became increasingly difficult to feel positive towards him as the corpses piled up. His limp was very bad and you could tell that it humiliated him with every step he took. During the wooing scene with Anne, he hardly moved at all. As played by Cook, he was an angry, bitter man;I felt that he was taking revenge for the bad hand fate had dealt him. Pres, I think that you are correct that actors' like this part because it is such a challenge to play. It would be so easy to make Richard a one dimensional villain. It's much more difficult to play him so that he elicits at least some audience understanding. Janet, how was Richard played in the production you saw? Has anybody watched the Ian Mckellan movie yet? Ann
Topic: October: Richard III (72 of 88), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2000 09:15 PM Ann, Ray Chambers created an evil, sardonic and blase' Richard who was often offhand and ironic to the point of subtle humor about his evilness and the naivety of the other characters. He played an intricate and complex character, in my view, NOT a stereotype. He was brilliant, dressed all in black with a bright red lining to his cape, reminiscent of a bottl'd black widow spider, with an equally complex leather and metal leg brace, and a background of web-like wooden levels of flooring and balconies: the perfect setting for this arachnid predator. Pres, I'm still looking at the definition you posted and am still not convinced that these characters are stereotypes or that the emotions are "overdone." Descriptive or pejorative, the criteria for the definition do not seem to fit this play. Not wanting to beat the point to death, I just don't see this as melodrama. Janet
Topic: October: Richard III (73 of 88), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 06:22 AM I viewed the Ian McKellan film version of Richard III last night. (SPOILER ALERT: this post will discuss the film.) This is not my favorite Shakespeare play, so far. Perhaps I'll feel differently if I see the play live. McKellen is fairly awesome. At times he is magnificent with a commanding presence. What falls short is my sympathy, I guess. I can't feel sorry for the man. Rather just sickened. He reminded me of Milosevic: someone who causes so much death for personal gain. These are tragic types and do exist. I think that a lot of enjoyment of the story depends on the understanding of the set up, a previous awareness of the historical characters and an emotional bond with the eventual victor would make it all come alive. I can see how it was tailor made for the Elizabethan audience. Even though I just read the play I was still scrambling to understand who everybody was and straining to place their loyalties and motivations. The film did a good job in assisting this but I'm still dense. The film was set in 1940's England and Richard was a fascist prototype. As he gained power the country takes on a Nazi look and this works very well. Anne becomes a morphine addict to kill her pain and that works well also. I still couldn't comprehend her choice to marry Richard. An effective scene is when Buckingham asks Richard for his promised reward and Richard refuses. Buckingham's subsequent realization that he was used is chilling. The concept that Richard chooses power over love because he feels unloved comes across. The cast is good and the costumes gorgeous. I would love to hear a second opinion. Robt
Topic: October: Richard III (74 of 88), Read 35 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 09:14 AM Robert: I have been a big fan of this production since it first came out. Like you I thought McKellan's portrayal was outstanding and the use of the neo-fascist, modern setting extremely effective. As you note, Ann's decision to marry Richard seems inexplicable, in part because McKellan's Richard is so loathsome and so malevolent, it's impossible to imagine his oily charm actually prevailing upon a person. Olivier's version made for a more charming Richard, on occasion at least, if I recall correctly but it's been years since I last saw it. Others have remarked on the problem of Ann, and I think one difficulty is our modern inability to accept something Elizabethans would have found less problematic: that a woman of the time would attach herself to a strong man, simply because he was strong, and not because she necessarily loved or admired him. I think the McKellan version of the play gets a bit high-centered on this issue, with Ann's character lying half-way between a traditional Shakespearean Ann and an interpretation suggesting one of the Mitford sisters. Your mention of Buckingham's realization of betrayal recalled one of my favorite, and poignant, scenes with Clarence in his bath, protesting that his brother "loves him well", as the assassins patiently explain that the old fellow is about to die -- on his brother's orders. Sheer propaganda to delight Tudor audiences, I think, but still a play that I find interesting and intriguing, and this film version is (for this year at least) my favorite interpretation. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (75 of 88), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 09:32 AM Dick, That is a very good point about Ann going for a strong man for protection rather than love, as an Elizabethan woman would do. Thanks for your assessment of this fine flick. Years ago, I saw Ian McKellen do a solo show on Broadway of Shakespearian characters and he was really something. Fine actor. It seems all the great Shakespearian actors are getting old and dying off. Where are the young Oliviers, Richardsons, Guilguds, Guinesses and McKellens? Maybe Ralph Fiennes. Who else? Next I will view Pacino's LOOKING FOR RICHARD. (He's getting up there, too.) Robt
Topic: October: Richard III (76 of 88), Read 37 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 10:27 AM There's that short guy, was married to Emma Thompson, am blanking on his name. He's done some good work. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (77 of 88), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 10:30 AM Kenneth Branaugh. That short guy. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (78 of 88), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 10:58 AM I'd like to see his Hamlet. The play, that is. Robt
Topic: October: Richard III (79 of 88), Read 37 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 11:20 AM Heh. In some of those costumes, you damned near can. It was really good. I also very much enjoyed his Henry V -- but that play could put blood in the eye of a Quaker in any event. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (80 of 88), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 11:51 AM Well, I watched the Olivier version the other night. The acting was great, but the movie sucked. Anne seems to be impressed by his act of murder as some kind of proof how much he loves. Then finds out there is not to be a sleepful night ever in his bed...sort of because he is evil and tosses and turns and moans(hmmm) It's weird that after stories like this humans continue to have shitheads...see this is a case where art is almost useless, haven't vile selfish CEOs and ambitious producers ever seen or read this play? I guess its charm is to see such a bad guy and its kind of like a lot of characters, like citizen Kane, who has to search and shop for his lost childhood with his consumerism and rise to power. With Richard as was sid earlier, he had to fill his heart with power to feel loved. Its a comentary on birth defects too and how his left side was crippled and mauled in the womb(blame the mother again ha ha)his left side the sinister side and how likely superstitious prejudice of his family raised such a person...unloved and prejudiced and hurtful. But this is not my favourite Shakespeare by any means. I have Looking For Richard yet to watch...
Topic: October: Richard III (81 of 88), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 11:52 AM Dick: Amen. "We few. We proud. We brave..." Goshamighty, it doesn't get much better than that. Where's my sword? >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: October: Richard III (82 of 88), Read 39 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 12:22 PM Thought this speech was worth quoting: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage; Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; Let it pry through the portage of the head Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it As fearfully as doth a galled rock O’erhang and jutty his confounded base, Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean. 1 Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit To his full height! On, on, you noblest English! Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof; Fathers that, like so many Alexanders, Have in these parts from morn till even fought, And sheath’d their swords for lack of argument. Dishonour not your mothers; now attest 24 That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you. Be copy now to men of grosser blood, And teach them how to war. And you, good yeomen, Whose limbs were made in England, show us here 28 The mettle of your pasture; let us swear That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not; For there is none of you so mean and base That hath not noble lustre in your eyes. I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot: Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge Cry ‘God for Harry! England and Saint George!’ 'Scuse me. Got to go split some froggy heads now. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (83 of 88), Read 39 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 12:38 PM And, on the morning of Agincourt, when the Duke of Westmoreland wishes for some of the men sitting idle in England to aid the out-numbered English army, Henry says (Dale's quote above): What’s he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin: If we are mark’d to die, we are enow To do our country loss; and if to live, The fewer men, the greater share of honour. God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more. By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It yearns me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires: But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive. No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England: God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour As one man more, methinks, would share from me, For the best hope I have. O! do not wish one more: Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart; his passport shall be made, And crowns for convoy put into his purse: We would not die in that man’s company That fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is call’d the feast of Crispian: He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. 48 He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say, ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’ Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say, ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’ Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he’ll remember with advantages What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words, Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered; 64 We few, we happy few, we band of brother; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile This day shall gentle his condition: 68 And gentlemen in England, now a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (84 of 88), Read 41 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 01:45 PM Dick: Woh. Goosebumps. Man, that is some beautiful writing. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: October: Richard III (85 of 88), Read 16 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 07:20 PM I thought the quote below quite telling. It is from 3 Henry VI, spoken by Queen Margaret (of Anjou), Henry's wife/widow. Richard, Duke of York, father of Edward (Edward IV), George (Duke of Clarence), and Richard (Richard III), has tried to depose Henry VI ("pious and incompetent"), and has been killed in battle; Henry VI's son and heir is killed in another battle. The references are to the three York sons: And what is Edward but a ruthless sea ? What Clarence but a quicksand of deceit ? And Richard but a ragged fatal rock ? All these the enemies to our poor bark. Say you can swim, alas, 'tis but a while; Tread on the sand, why, there you quickly sink; Bestride the rock, the tide will wash you off, Or else you famish - that's a threefold death. This speak I, lords, to let you understand, In case some one of you would fly from us, That there's no hop'd for mercy with the brothers More than with ruthless waves, with sands and rocks. Pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ? (Psst! Do you think he knows what he thinks ?)
Topic: October: Richard III (86 of 88), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 08:41 PM I will here state that "melodrama" does not fit Richard III - that is, Richard III is not a melodrama. I'll aver that it is not of the same genre as "Uncle Tom's Cabin", one of the classic examples of melodrama. Not tragedy; not comedy. A history play, of very imperfect history. I'll hold that Richard is stereotypical in that he is an "oversimplified convention" and thus satisfies the definition of the term. The Encyclopedia Britannia says of melodrama, ". . . drama with an improbable plot that concerns the vicissitudes suffered by the virtuous at the hands of the villainous but ends happily with virtue triumphant." The virtuous: Well, not Clarence. Hastings, maybe. Margaret, Elizabeth, Anne, the Princes. The villainous: Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and his minions. Ends happily with virtue triumphant: Richard killed in battle; Henry Tudor to become Henry VII. ******************************************** A side note: In the near classic Greek Tragedy by H.D.F. Kitto, K says of Aeschylus' Supplices, "We have all sympathy for one side, none for the other, but it is in melodrama, not in tragedy, that the side we sympathize with must be wholly right." And in a chapter entitled NEW TRAGEDY: EURIPIDIES' MELODRAMAS, K says of Electra and Orestes, "These two plays are melodramatic, not tragic;" ******************************************** JANET, I do agree; Richard III is not melodrama. I think, though, that the notion repays thinking. If not melodrama, what ? Pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ? (Psst! Do you think he knows what he thinks ?)
Topic: October: Richard III (87 of 88), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 08:59 PM Hah! Kitto! Freshman year. All us geezers received the same education. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (88 of 88), Read 22 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 09:00 PM Well, not quite. I not only can't quote from my copy, I'd have to scrounge the shelves for it. But, in spirit, we're together on this one, Pres. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: October: Richard III (74 of 94), Read 37 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Thursday, October 12, 2000 10:23 AM Pres, I'm not sure Margaret was really one of the good guys. She too could be very brutal. In real life she was a very strong woman married to the weak and completely ineffective Henry VI. With French support and that of Anne Neville's father the Earl of Warwick, she organized armies to fight against the house of York in the name of her husband and son. In his plays, Shakespeare says that she drove a dagger into the heart of Richard III's father, the Duke of York, and he also implicates her in the death of Richard's 17 year old brother Rutland. Putting a paper crown on the father's head, she mocked him and he cursed her. Her murder of the senior Duke of York and the Duke's subsequent curse seems to be an invention, but it is effective dramatically. In Richard III, Richard says: The curse my noble father laid on thee, When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper, And with thy scorns drew'st rivers from his eyes, And then, to dry them, gavest the duke a clout, Steep'd in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland,- His curses, then from bitterness of soul Denounced against thee, are all fall'n upon thee; And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed. What goes around, comes around?
Topic: (no subject) (75 of 94), Read 53 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Stroud (astroud@icomnet.com) Date: Friday, October 13, 2000 07:42 AM unsubscribe
Topic: (no subject) (76 of 94), Read 58 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Friday, October 13, 2000 08:30 AM Here is a Constant Reader who has quite obviously lost interest. Ah well, former Constant Readers are coming to inhabit the world in significant numbers. Steve
Topic: (no subject) (77 of 94), Read 66 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Friday, October 13, 2000 08:43 AM Steve -- she did an unsubscribe up in the Constant Reader conference also -- I don't think these are kosher but it's obvious she's dumping us for now! Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: (no subject) (78 of 94), Read 68 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Friday, October 13, 2000 10:26 AM Yeah, like, what does 'unsubscribe' do? I'd try it, but I'm kind of worried about my computer signing off the internet permanently or something. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: (no subject) (79 of 94), Read 63 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Friday, October 13, 2000 11:33 AM There is a little email symbol in the right hand corner of the unsubscribe message, so I suspect Susan no longer wants to receive the CC discussions downloaded to her email. Gee, we're so wonderful :). Why would anyone ever want to leave? Ann
Topic: (no subject) (80 of 94), Read 57 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Friday, October 13, 2000 09:19 PM Now, THAT'S melodrama!!! Pres, Interesting question--what is "high drama?" Janet
Topic: (no subject) (81 of 94), Read 44 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, October 13, 2000 10:50 PM eek, is this where I post re:Richard lll? I'm lost... I was trying to find former posts on R3 because I couldn't remember if anyone had posted about Harold Blooms book on Shakespeare...I dug out my copy and I forgot what truly great reading it is. Pres, I thought of you today when I was reading blooms take on R3 because he says how weak it is as far as Shakespeares development as a writer. Does he use the idea melodrama? uh no... ...and makes us all into the Lady Anne, playing upon the profound sadomasicism that any audience creates merely by assembling. We are there to be entertained by the suffering of others. Richard co-opts us as fellow torturers, sharing guilty pleasures with the added frisson that we may join the victims, if the dominant hunchback detects any failure in our complicity. Marlowe was sadomasochistic, but rather unsubtly, as in the gruesome execution of Edwardll murdered by the insertion of a white hot poker in his anus. Shakespeare, resonably free of such cruel prurience, shocks more profoundly by rendering us incapable of resisting Richards cruel charms... ....What , then is Richards peculiar charm, that alone rescues Shakespeares perpetually popular melodrama? Sadomasochistic sexuality is certainly a crucial component:to surmise R#'s bedroom behaviour with Anne is to indulge one's unhealthiest fantasies. We are not told how she dies, only that,"Anne my wife hath bid this world good night" doubtless delivered with a certain relish. But kinkiness alone cannot account for Richards exuberant appeal:endless gusto aappears to be his secret, energy that delights and terrifies. He is like a Panurge turned from mischief to malevolence, vitalism transmorgrified into the death drive. All of us, hai audience, require periodic rest and recharging, Richard incessantly surges on, from victim to victim, in quest of more power to hurt. His allianceof gusto and trimphalism Shakespeare a new kind of nasty comedy.... 'But now Richard takes command of the sun, and genially invites us to share in his triumph over Annes virtue, expressed as only another of the worlds hypocrisy: 'And yet to win her, all the world to nothing' That subsequent Ha!is intoxicating, a grand expletive for a great actor. Richards gusto is more than theatrical, his triumphalism blends into theatricalism, and becomes Shakespeare's celebration of his medium, and so of his rapidly developing art. Toinvent Richard is to create a great monster, but one that will be refined into Shakespeare's invention of the human, of which Iago, to everyone's delight and sorrow, will constitute so central a part.'
Topic: (no subject) (82 of 94), Read 51 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: George Healy (malword@aol.com) Date: Saturday, October 14, 2000 06:26 AM In drama, lies are true. Some people tell us more about themselves with their lies than at any other time. Richard has monologues, but they are mostly self-congratulatory. But Richard's lies... ah, they say so much. In III.7, Richard falsely resists being crowned king, saying that: '... so much is my poverty of spirit, so mighty and so many my defects, that I would rather hide me from my greatness...' and: '... I am unfit for state and majesty.' Part of this is political expedience (don't seem too eager for power)... but a deeper part is powerfully compulsive. I suspect that rather than hiding from his greatness, he's hiding from his inner void. Can an ugly man woo a beautiful widow? Can a spiritual savage become royal? Can a cripple become an accomplished warrior? Richard lives to refute himself, alter his given situation and status, willing at the end to trade (and he means this) an entire kingdom for the means to strike at his enemies. When he accepts the crown he says: 'Will you enforce me to a world of cares? I am not made of stones, but penetrable to your kind entreaties, albeit against my conscience and my soul.' A very interesting choice of words. Perhaps they reveal some motivation. Richard is unable to care about anyone, including himself. Now, being king forces him to at least care about something, namely retaining power. He wants to be made of stone, impenetrable, an awesome human battlement with nothing at the core. As for his soul... aren't scabs fascinating? Who here hasn't poked at a scab, amazed that something made of skin feels nothing whatsoever? Richard is mentally and verbally poking at his own conscience, realizing it is dead and awestruck at how far he can go without any coherent pangs of guilt. Personally, I think Richard is doing what we all do... maneuvering himself into a position where he must begin to care while attempting to mortar over the disturbing elements in his own personality. His methods, however, are truly villainous: He wants to become someone else while reducing everyone around to what he believes they are. A very dark ambition....
Topic: (no subject) (83 of 94), Read 52 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Saturday, October 14, 2000 12:39 PM Wow, George, you are a good writer, and so far you've done it again, helped me understand a character and story that was fumbling around out of reach on me...!!!
Topic: Richard III (84 of 94), Read 47 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Saturday, October 14, 2000 03:03 PM I agree, George. Very good note. Sherry
Topic: Richard III (85 of 94), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Sunday, October 15, 2000 08:53 AM I finished Richard III yesterday and read through these excellent notes. As usual, they added enormously to the experience. I had many of the same problems that have been mentioned here. Keeping the characters straight when they were referred to by different names was the biggest of them. It also took me a good while to get any feel for Richard or for any of the other characters actually. The characters in Lear, Othello and MacBeth seemed to have a depth and complexity that were lacking here. I mention those three because they are the only other Shakespearean plays I've read (embarrassing to be such a novice). On the other hand, I find myself wanting to read this again now that I have characters a little straighter in my mind. Since I don't have the time for this, will haunt my library system for an audio version. Will let you know if I find anything good, Ann. My Folger edition had an excellent article by Phyllis Rackin which I actually wish I'd read before the play. I'm going to copy the opening paragraph here instead of inadequately paraphrasing it: From the standpoint of Tudor history, the most important event in Richard III is the conclusion, and the most important character is Richmond. The victory of Queen Elizabeth's grandfather at Bosworth Field and his marriage to Elizabeth of York ended the Wars of the Roses and established the Tudor dynasty. On Shakespeare's stage, however, the future Henry VII was a pallid figure with a minimal part, and he was not even mentioned on the title page of the first published edition which identified the play as "The Tragedy of Richard the third, Containing, His treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence: the pittiefull murther of his iunocent nephewes: his tyrannicall usurpation: with the whole course of his detested life, and most deserved death." The monstrous villain of Tudor history became the star of Shakespeare's play. Almost always onstage, he dominates the dramatic action in a role that has attracted leading actors from Shakespeare's time to our own. I tend to think of William Shakespeare as a politic kind of guy who knew that he had to please royalty in order to continue to have the freedom to produce his plays. It's notable to me that he walked this line of making Richard such a despicable character, yet also made him, by far, the most interesting character on the stage. Barb
Topic: Richard III (86 of 94), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Sunday, October 15, 2000 12:21 PM Barb, Good point that Richard is by far the most interesting character in the play. Oh sure, he's crafty and despicable (hey, nobody's perfect), but he is also very clever and totally skilled at playing whatever part is most expedient at the time. It's fascinating to watch him operate. I can say that about few of the other characters. For the most part, they seem hopelessly naive. Clarence, King Edward, Hastings, and Anne Neville are all out of their element in dealing with Richard. The King at least has a fatal illness as an excuse, and Anne may be too frightened by her powerless position to cope effectively, but Clarence really does comes off as naive and almost childish. Admittedly, naive is not a word I would ever apply to Margaret of Anjou. However, she is not a fully developed character--more like an abstract voice of fate and revenge, wildly cursing the entire cast of other characters. In fact, the only one who really competes with Richard for my interest is Buckingham, another bad guy but one who is at least willing to draw the line at murdering children. Is evil just more interesting than good? Also, what do you all think? Does Richard ever show signs of true remorse? Is so, does that make him more human and therefore less of a stereotypical villain? My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, And every tongue brings in a several tale, And every tale condemns me for a villain. Perjury, perjury, in the high'st degree; Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree; All several sins, all used in each degree, Throng to the bar, crying all "Guilty! guilty!' I shall despair. There is no creature loves me; And if I die, no soul will pity me: Nay wherefore should they, since that I myself Find in myself no pity to myself? Ann
Topic: Richard III (87 of 94), Read 22 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ernest Belden (drernest@pacbell.net) Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 12:36 AM Hi, As I am approaching the end of Richard III I decided to look at all (or almost all) your comments. The most puzzling one was the person who writes: UNSUBSCRIBE ! What did she mean? Unsubscribe to CC, or is it worse, Shakespeare or perhaps computers in general. Well I have gone to periods myself when all I wanted to do was unsubscribing to the world ot even the Universe. However I never did unsubscribe being rescued by an interesting book, a good conversation and last but not least a glass of Napa Merlot Yet I respect a person's right to subscribe or unsubscribe to most anything. I had the same problems with Richard III as some of you. Getting the characters straight, getting used to the antiquated language. Perhaps I had more trouble with it than anyone else on CC since English is not my native language (nor is Esperanto) but German is. But some of S's plays I have read were less difficult for me. I do remember I had hardly any trouble with Julius Caesar in High school. Perhaps because I was younger at that time. But the play did, what it was supposed to do, arouse my curiosity and wish to read up on it. I have heard so much about the War of the Roses but had no idea what this was all about. Well I better quit now and finish the play. Ernie
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (88 of 94), Read 22 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Strahan (tales@1001knights.com) Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 09:00 AM Though I realize this discussion is winding down, I was waiting to see if anyone else noticed what I'd noticed in the play...I guess not. :-) One of the things that struck me was that the group of women in the play seem to have Richard's number from the very beginning. Even though Anne vacillates, she begins with a terrific denunciation. Then there are other scenes with the women together in which they all agree that Richard is up to no good. But, of course, being women at that time in history they are not in a position to stop him. The men in this play however seem to have no clue what Richard is up to and are universally dismayed (and killed) by his betrayals and treachery. It just struck me as really interesting that the women were inclined not to trust him from the outset and that the men in the play trusted him with their lives---right up to the point their lives were forfeit. ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (89 of 94), Read 22 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 09:12 AM There are two times where Richard does his snakecharmer bit. One is Anne, of course, and then another is when he is arguing to marry the young Elizabeth. Both times, the women try to stand pat, but they have this battle going on between their hearts and their heads. Their hearts know what Richard is and you can almost feel the will draining from them. Then their heads give in to the "logic" of Richard. Sherry
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (90 of 94), Read 23 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Strahan (tales@1001knights.com) Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 09:24 AM Yeah, but the point is...the women know in some part of their brain that he is bad news but the guys in this book go blithely along with nary a clue that they may lose their heads. He may seduce the women with his charm (?) but he dupes the men so totally that they typically don't even have a qualm. Sometimes it seemed to me like the men in this play were really dim bulbs--especially since we've got the women basically spelling out what sorts of disasters Richard is going to precipitate. it seemed to me that the women are sort of like a greek chorus addressing the audience while the main action involves men dumbly being betrayed. (OK I know I'm painting with a broad brush here...) :-) ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (91 of 94), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 10:00 AM I guess my point in return is that when not directly confronted with Richard, the women had his number. But when confronted, they folded just like the men. Sherry
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (92 of 94), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 11:39 AM Susan, this is a fabulous observation(you SAW! something) and I commend you and feel like kicking myself for not noticing that. For years I have been enjoying the aspect of mystery movies/film noir and how the women always know whats going on. I even wrote a poem about this. From Maltese Falcon to Bladerunner the women know the inside scoop to the murderers or the mystery. In Chinatown Polanski pays homage to this by having something amiss in Faye Dunaways eye. The writers or directors of this genre often have the womans eye referred to in some way, in a subtle way letting/reminding the audience of her SIGHT. Now I wonder if this tradition started in R3. I hmm wonder of anyone noticed any reference to the female eyes in it? I know I didn't. Some examples I can think of in the past of movies was in Maltese Flacon, Bogart knoows what she has short sight I can't remember, but in Bladerunner, the robot Sean Young has her eyes tested, and she passes, the movie Snake Eyes has the female actually lose her glasses...
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (93 of 94), Read 5 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 07:11 PM I think evil IS more interesting than good--but each, when when juxtaposed with its opposite, becomes even more interesting by contrast. Richard IS evil, but he also has the irresistible charm inherent in a twisted, ironic sense of humor. He's the "bad-boy charmer" of every woman's experience, I think, which is one element making him complex and individual rather than static and flat. George, as always, enjoyed your note and a few others,--Susan and Candy, but others too. How do you think Richard compares with Iago of Othello, for Pure Villainy? Fascinating to compare characters sometimes. . . Janet
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (94 of 94), Read 4 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 07:32 PM To compare Richard III and Iago, first tell what motivates each. Richard, desire for power? Iago, jealousy of position or racial hatred? Pres, How do I know what I think until I see what I say ? (Psst! Do you think he knows what he thinks ?)
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (95 of 110), Read 50 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Monday, October 16, 2000 08:40 PM Ann, I honestly don't think that evil is always more interesting though I know that many would disagree with me. I just think that, in this play, Shakespeare put all of his efforts into Richard and sketched the rest with a very light brush. Interesting point, Susan. I agree that the women seemed to have had a sense of Richard's evil from the beginning even if two of them couldn't resist. Aren't we supposed to think that Richmond and his followers saw Richard in his true colors as well though? Barb
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (96 of 110), Read 46 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: George Healy (malword@aol.com) Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 05:31 AM All: some very good points to chew on. Unfortunately, R3 is not an Othello... it's not even an R2 or a King John. There is no complex interweaving of characters, at least not psychologically. The women may see R in a truer (but more distant) light, though it strikes me like being the first person on a plane to notice the wings are on fire... you end up in the same crash as the ignorant. Iago and Richard. Iago is the director of 'Othello'. He 'stage manages' the characters with eerie precision. Richard is a character in a play that suspects he is a character in a play. To me, the most unsettling thing about Richard is how intimate he becomes with us, the audience. Iago is a villain and a work of art of a much higher order, so it's almost unfair to compare the two. I think it's more productive to compare R to, say, Marlowe's Tamburlaine... both are villains with some heroic traits, both succeed mainly through use of seductive rhetoric, but only Richard gives me the sense that he wishes the audience was IN the play, in range of his manipulation. Or even worse, that he could get beyond the bounds of his fiction, and start dealing directly with us....
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (97 of 110), Read 47 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 08:17 AM Boy, that's a scary thought, George. Sherry
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (98 of 110), Read 48 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 08:37 AM Sherry -- LOL -- that was EXACTLY what I remarked to myself after reading George's post! It IS a chilling thought isn't it? Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (99 of 110), Read 47 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Strahan (tales@1001knights.com) Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 09:23 AM The idea that Richard sees himself as within a play ("all the world's a stage" ) is interesting. One of the uncomfortable things about this play is that Richard is the lead, he's the protagonist. We are privy to his thoughts, his plans, his schemes and dreams. If he weren't a ruthless SOB (eg if he were a good guy) we'd be rooting for him. It was a bit horrific to be drug along, captive, with Richard as he executed his plans (and quite a few people). It was almost like Richard held us hostage and we were hauled from scene to scene, seeing it all unfold, but unable to do anything about it (rather like the women in this play). I wondered how Shakespeare's original audience reacted to this. Were they horrified or at least uncomfortable to be put into the position by the playwrite of almost being forced to embrace this protagonist? Or did they get a vicarious kick at the amount of power he was able to amass and use? I have to wonder how it played in the peanut gallery. Richard was not a legitimate successor to the throne, yet he schemed his way to a position of (almost) unstoppable power. I sort of suspect that might have been a crowd-pleaser to the downtrodden masses, with their own petty schemes and dreams to get ahead or stick it to the landlord or whoever was hassling them. ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (100 of 110), Read 49 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 11:31 AM GEORGE: An astute reading and a great post. SUSAN: I am pretty sure the audience of the period lapped it up. One could say that, for the time, it was as juicy as Clinton and Monica, though not as prurient. ABOUT THE LADIES: Allen Bloom on the subject of Richard II, an earlier subject but written later: "Whereas all the principal men in Richard II are artificial, and none particularly admirable, the three women in the play (Richard's queen and the Duchess of York in addition to the Duchess of Gloucester) are all both natural and admirable. They love their husbands and their children. Humanity, banished by the men, seems to have taken refuge in the women. For varying but related reasons these women cannot depend on the men in their families; and in their sufferings they do not appear to hope in God. They endure, and in their fortitude they provide a measure for the failings of the men to whom they are most nearly related . . ." Following this analysis, I would say that the women in Richard III are not so closely related to the men but rather stand apart as a chorus, as I believe somebody here has already said. ASIDE: Bloom's essay, as you can see from the above, talks intensely about the play, but quotes the language only twice and that not of a muchness. I boggle. Pres, Fly at once; all is discovered ! How do I know what I think until I see what I say ? (Psst! Do you think he knows what he thinks ?)
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (101 of 110), Read 58 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 05:28 PM This is much of the enjoyment of R3 is that we follow and are seduced into his movements, you're right about this George. It ties into some of what I posted earlier from Harold Bloom too about watching his sadomasichistic actions. I just finished Looking For Richard, Steve, great recommendation. I think I might have to buy a copy of this film, it was so awesome. And Pacino says also the attraction of this play(it is apparently the most performed of Shakespeare) is that R3 says I'm going to do this this and that...and then he does it and we just follow along with it, his willing accomplices. I was paraphrasing there... there is an hilarious part where the whole purpose of the movie is to show how the actor owns Shakespeare but then Pacino wants to ask a scholar WHY does Anne fall for R3 and Pacinos assistant chews him out why would he succumb to seeking scholarly advice, but Pacino says everyone has a right to comment....then cut to scholar dude and he says, Why does Anne fall for R3? I don't know. It was so funny. This is a great comparrison the thing between Anne and R3 and Disgrace and Lucys life...
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (102 of 110), Read 44 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 07:55 PM Been having computer troubles and now that I have access I'll quickly post this note I composed earlier. Haven't read all the above notes but I will later. I get withdrawal without this webboard! Finally, I got around to seeing LOOKING FOR RICHARD. Al Pacino wrote, directed, produced and starred in this exploration of RICHARD III which is my favorite version so far because it makes the play understandable. The film is a documentary about Al Pacino's creative process of filming R3. He assembles an excellent cast and films the rehearsals and final (edited) costumed performance of the play including the actors' ruminations on the history and motivation of the characters. In addition he interviews actors (such as Vanessa Redgrave and John Guilgud) and Shakespearean scholars about various aspects of R3 and Shakespeare. It is entertaining and enlightening to watch actors approach their part and the play. Pacino plays Richard, of course, and his scene with Winona Rider as Lady Anne is propelled by erotic energy. The actors discuss before hand how Lady Anne is a survivor of the losing house of Lancaster and without protection she has no future. Estelle Parsons is particularly good as Margaret. Kevin Spacey plays Buckingham. Pacino is good as always. Highly recommended. Robt
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (103 of 110), Read 51 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Janet Mego (vsjego@cs.com) Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 08:21 PM Oh, to see Al Pacino as Richard and Winona Rider as Anne. Wonderful comments. I've truly enjoyed this! Janet
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (104 of 110), Read 30 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Felix Miller (felix3rd@bellsouth.net) Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 07:32 PM I will have to rent this one. I watched Ian McKellen in a Nazi-fied version, which had its moments, but suffered from anachronisms, the most famous of which was the "My kingdom for a horse" scene, with Richard astride a defunct personnel carrier. Anything Al Pacino does is worth watching. Greetings from north of the river, Felix Miller Schizophrenia beats the heck out of being alone.
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (105 of 110), Read 28 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Thursday, October 19, 2000 01:59 AM I'll tell ya I feel like I have been eating sleeping R3. I loved this version with Pacino, okay and not just because it was Pacino(who I have had a crush on since Dog Day Afternoon and Serpico!!) this wa sfantastic. And I have re read hamlet which I tend to do once a year anyway and really feel like I see how R3 is a precurser to Hamlet. I dunno, does this play reaLLy seem to affect eveything to do with bullies and revenge and vengence and sore loser....and also I was thinking about the prejudice to handicapped how it was so associalted to evil, perhaps from the amplification Shakespeare did. The Harold Bloom work on Shakespeare has been an awesome read, anybody else? read it? Steve if you love Camillle, he is her mentor!!!! He is so into saying how Shakespeare has informeed WHO we are and how we think, he invented us today, quite intersting...
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (106 of 110), Read 29 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Thursday, October 19, 2000 09:22 AM Candy, You made an interesting observation about the connection between evil and disability in this play. From what I have read, Shakespeare exaggerated Richard's physical imperfections a great deal, and it seems to me that the only purpose was to make him an even more sinister character. I imagine he was just reflecting his times. At least society has become more enlightened in some respects. Ann
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (107 of 110), Read 28 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Thursday, October 19, 2000 11:28 AM well, different things I have heard was to show his corruption inside and his deformed spirit, S amplified his ailments. This is kind of freaky nowadays and I feel it must have really influenced ideas have about how we look. I know it's changing in the legal realm about prejudice against differences, but bullies (uh oh here she goes again) have been manifesting this sort of history...there are still some parents out there raising their kids to judge people by looks and by personal taste. I like to think of R3 as having been so judged and so he carries this bitterness and unloved feeling from his childhood, that people despised him first for his appearance and then he became a creep inside. I know DISCLAIMER, my personal opinion and experience is that babies are blank slates. I in no way want to change other peoples opinions about childraising here at CR. But when reading I find this always coomes up in literature and 'people watching' for me, sorry. I can be such a broken record, you should hear me on farming! yikes
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (108 of 110), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Strahan (tales@1001knights.com) Date: Thursday, October 19, 2000 12:08 PM One more Richard III portrayal that keeps popping to mind is Richard Dreyfuss in the movie "Goodbye Girl". Anybody remember that? He plays an aspiring actor who is hired to play Richard in an off-Broadway production which bombed due to the director's insistence that Dreyfuss's character portray Richard as a swishy flaming queen. The bits and pieces we get of the play and production during the course of the movie are painfully funny. ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (109 of 110), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Thursday, October 19, 2000 01:38 PM Candy, Richard speaks of the burden of his deformities and how they make him unlovable in his opening speech. I'm with you. I think his bitterness corrupts his entire spirit, so that he derives his joy from manipulating other people for his own ends, rather than forming any emotional ties with them. Here is some of his speech: Cheated of feature by dissembling nature, Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before my time Into this breathing world, scarce half made up, And that so lamely and unfashionable That dogs bark at me as I halt by them; Why, I, in this weak peeping time of peace, Have no delight to pass away the time, Unless to spy my shadow in the sun, And descant on mine own deformity: And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover, To entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determine to prove the villain, And hate the idle pleasures of these days. Maybe Shakespeare also uses Richard's reactions to his physical shortcomings (pronounced limp, withered arm, unusually small stature) to give some motivation for his twisted character. A mind that diabolical begs for some kind of explanation. The irony is that, much as Richard seems to hate almost everyone else, few seem to reciprocate it until he twists the knife in their back. Both his brothers, for example, seem well disposed to him, and Lady Anne becomes at least reconciled to her fate with him, although I don't detect any enthusiasm. Susan, now that you mention it I do vaguely recall Richard III in "The Goodbye Girl." That was a funny film, but it's been years since I've seen it. Ann
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (110 of 110), Read 8 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, October 20, 2000 09:35 AM I think I may have mentioned that I took out a few movies and books to inspire my reading here of R3 and one of the movies was Goodbye Girl. I love this movie. Dreyfus is so good in this!!! And the R3 is hilarious. Yeah, Ann I think that must be so much of the pleasure of performing R3 is for the actor to finsd a place where they can plan and do these dastardly (and worse!) and yet some how even manage to be lovable/seductive to others. I have to say H Bloom struck a note for me on the s and m qualities/desires of Anne and her feeling of 'trading off' and barganing to live in the royal life. I think R3s zest for life his energy and murders showed made some feel he was a leader type or powerful till he got to them too.
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (107 of 118), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Friday, October 20, 2000 02:20 PM Candy, By "s and m qualities" do you mean sado-masochistic? If so, I think Bloom might be reading something into the play. Women of Anne's class had few options as far as love and marriage were concerned. They pretty much functioned as political pawns even if they had male relatives to watch out for them. Anne's father, husband and father-in-law were all dead. Shoot, I guess part of the problem is I just can't believe that anyone could marry the murderer of a beloved husband unless they were under real duress. I agree with your observation about the appeal of the part of Richard III to actors. It takes a lot of skill to present two convincing , but opposite faces of the same man -- one caring and solicitous and the other diabolically cruel. Ann
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (108 of 118), Read 22 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Friday, October 20, 2000 06:56 PM REPLY TO ANN: I think you are so right in thinking that Bloom is reading something into the play when he speaks of S&M (SAM?). He drags the idea into the play, for there is nothing in Richard's behavior, even the painted up version the play gives us, that isn't ordinary, everyday, go-for-the-crown behavior of the period. It is clearly Shakespeare's intent to show us Richard painted black, but painted sadistic, NO. About Anne and her marriage to Richard, one should remember that she was the daughter of Richard Neville, Duke of Warwick, The Kingmaker. Warwick put Edward IV (York) on the throne in place of the deposed and ineffectual Henry VI. Quarreling with Edward IV, Warwick restored Henry VI and effectively ruled in his name AND arranged that his daughter, Anne, married Edward, the Prince of Wales. Tell me that that was a love match. So, in the course of Edward IV regaining the throne from Henry VI, Anne is widowed. The Prince of Wales was 18 when he died in battle. And, as I said somewhere above, Richard and Anne had been raised together as children. Pres, Fly at once; all is discovered ! How do I know what I think until I see what I say ? (Psst! Do you think he knows what he thinks ?)
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (109 of 118), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Friday, October 20, 2000 08:44 PM Pres, Thanks for that very interesting historical update. I had read that Anne's father was an important player in the political intrigues of the times, but I didn't realize just how significant he was. The real Anne was engaged to young Edward, but had not actually married him, had she? I understood her engagement was strictly a political maneuver on her father's part in real life, but Shakespeare certainly sharpened the drama a great deal by making her a bereaved young widow, lamenting the death of a near perfect husband. Actually, this play has really grown on me. That BBC video I borrowed from the library made it much easier for me to appreciate its complexities, but I have to agree with you that in many cases it is melodramatic. I imagine it was a real crowd pleaser in its day. Ann
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (110 of 118), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Friday, October 20, 2000 08:57 PM REPLY TO ANN I believe that Anne Neville was actually married to Edward, Prince of Wales, or so it says in the genealogy table in a English Monarchs book I have. I don't find Anne in the Encyclopedia Britannica. A crowd pleaser in its day ? I certainly think so. One of the earliest of S's plays and preserved all these years. And what actor, worthy of the name, wouldn't like a go at the part. Though, so far as I can find out, Gielgud never played the part. Pres, Fly at once; all is discovered ! How do I know what I think until I see what I say ? (Psst! Do you think he knows what he thinks ?)
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (111 of 118), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Friday, October 20, 2000 09:03 PM Pres, I took back the book to the library that I checked out on Shakespeare and the English kings, but I'm almost certain that it said they were only engaged. I go to the library fairly often nowadays and I doubt very much that it's been checked out again. I'll let you know if I'm wrong. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. Ann
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (112 of 118), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, October 20, 2000 09:35 PM Hi all, um I didn't mean to say Anne liked s and m, but that R3 really was sadistic.(in the play). He LOVES this murder and games. He was totally into torture.First he goes to great detail to tell us what hes going to do to different people and then he does it. And he often does it right to us/ the audience. This is about us watching all this going down. It is a little capitalizing on us being morbid and voyeuristic and then, do we not ('do we not?', what am I saying I'm going Shakespeare here eek)want to see him get pay back? I think Shakespeare really worked up on the audience loving a bad guy and also wanting to see him get his just desserts. And with this great lesson on money and power...what is it if you can't even save yourself...(money can't give you immortality) you know, the business about 'my kingdom for a horse'. Something does 'happen' to Anne, doesn't she die? and how? it's just hinted at...and like I said earlier why couldn't she sleep well at night? I took that as she was being kept awake hint hint nudge nudge by R3...and not with perfume and roses. But no, I didn't mean to imply, as I must have that she was 'into submission' like we use that term today. egad. She simply was submissive to him.
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (113 of 118), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: George Healy (malword@aol.com) Date: Saturday, October 21, 2000 03:45 AM I've only been able to find one rule to adhere to when reading Shakespeare: he's always deeper and stranger than you think. I don't think Bloom drags S&M into the play (presumably on a leash)... I think Richard is both sadistic/masochistic in certain ways, and I think Anne is also. In essence, Richard offers Anne POWER, the (illusory) power of turning a man mad with love for her, so enraptured with her beauty that he would kill to possess it. To me, that's the secret of her 'submission'... she's actually given the chance to become dominant if she believes Richard's lie that he kills for HER. And she bites. Richard doesn't sell her himself, he sells her a vision of herself as Helen of Troy. We like to call Richard diabolical. But WHY? Because he murders and lies? I think him worse than that. A crackpot theory of mine: Shakespeare, an incessant punner, gives us 3 Richards in 'Richard the Third'... one falsely good, one definitely evil, and one unknowable at the core. R sees himself and others as fragmented, virtually his last words are: 'I think there are 6 Richmonds in the field, I have killed 5 of them...' Richard believes that we are all Jeckyll and Hydes, and he plays to that evil and sadistic person in each of us. I think he believes that he has a dark ally in each human soul, and that humans are as crippled inwardly as he is physically. The extent to which he proves that point, and successfully exploits it, is what makes him diabolical.
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (114 of 118), Read 32 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Saturday, October 21, 2000 08:54 AM I have had the best time reading (and living with)R3 the last couple weeks. Honestly, I feel like I started out reading this yeah yeah, R3 okay. But then between all the posts here, the reading about Shakespeare and movies regarding then...welll this has been great!!!! I was caught off guard how much I got into this, driving everybody around me crazy talking about r3. I think I even posted that this was not one of my favourite SW plays...(did I also say, I am a bit of a Shakespeare geek? I even made a 22 minute film on a contemporary version of Ophelia, my premise being that she is not crazy?)...and yet here I have so enjoyed it. Sometimes I wish I had a camera on my face as I read the posts here because its a combination of awe and excitement and I know I am getting teased by my family as they see me reading posts and going "oh my god! this is great!) Everybodyhere has been a an amazing inspiration on 'how to read and to give it ones all'. Thank you. George, what an incredible thought of their being three Richards. My god, you should publish something on that! I hadn't looked at it like that, but see it, it does fit with the way SW brought so many layers into his work. I also agree there isn't a time I don't pick up and read him that each time there is something new. I read Hamlet at least every year, and books written about Hamlet and I can't ever see an end to the enjoyment of following the biggest character written to date. I am reading Othello in a couple weeks, as my sister is taking this in a course at University of Vancouver) and not only do I see how R3 had so much to do with Shakespeare for Hamlet, but now for Othello...
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (115 of 118), Read 27 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Saturday, October 21, 2000 11:02 AM George, I just wrote you a gushing e mail about how much I appreciate your posts. You are a very interesting reader. I must say I have been saved the embarrassment of you reading my 'fan letter' because your e mail doesn't seem to work, just wanted to let you know that. Anyway, I am prying here sorry, are you a teacher or a writer? An actor? There is something artistic about many of your perspectives of literature. curious Candy
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (116 of 118), Read 26 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Saturday, October 21, 2000 01:17 PM Candy, Regarding Anne's fate, she died and the implication in the play is that Richard disposed of her. Remember, at the end he wants to marry his niece to help secure his position. According to the source I read, it is more probable that Anne died of TB. I'm so glad you are enjoying Classics Corner. It can be addictive, can't it? George, the text supports your view that Anne is seduced by power. However, it was difficult for me to buy this interpretation while I was reading the play because she seems like such a decent person, not at all the grasping, conniving sort. Zoe Wannamaker's interpretation of the character in the BBC video shows her fearful throughout the whole "seduction" scene, which reinforced my view of Anne as an innocent, trying to make the best of a situation that left her virtually powerless. But then, I am sure that this part can be interpreted in many different ways, as can all of Shakespeare's characters--which, after all, is why his plays continue to fascinate us. Ann
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (117 of 118), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: George Healy (malword@aol.com) Date: Sunday, October 22, 2000 08:46 AM Candy-- Thanks. Enthusiasm for literature should never embarrass you (unless you start getting tattoos of of all the Beat poets faces... that I suppose would be going too far, and they're a pretty unattractive bunch.) Nearly everything that writers have done, Shakespeare has outdone. William Faulkner created some starkly sadistic characters. Shakespeare created the same, but deeper, more troubling and compelling. To me it's simply a given. Pick an adjective. Inspirational? Sure... Stephen in Joyce (for example) inspires, but more than Cleopatra or Hamlet or Rosalind? So in R3 we're dealing with sadism and a host of other adjectives positive and negative. But where does Shakespeare take us and why? Richard is a massively driven man, so many of his lines give a sense of motion as a key to his character ( 'does Buckingham stop to pant for breath?' 'dogs bark at me when I halt by them' 'on me, that halts and am misshapen thus'... and of course his very last wish is to have a horse to go faster.) I ask...why? Why did Shakespeare portray a man crippled and deformed in terms of unceasing motion? 'Halting' is bad. Moving furiously and perpetually is good. There I think is Richard's creed, his only set of ethics. What an amazing angle Shakespeare has taken! Richard defines deformity not in terms of shape but speed. This empowers him. Nothing he could do about his shape... but his pace, he will rage about, and his mind will race forward like a chessplayer always 3 moves ahead. Unfortunately, his mind outpaces morals and emotions, and a mind that leaves those behind deforms itself. He left the starting block deformed, and raced right back to it. Maybe that is his tragedy?
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (118 of 118), Read 4 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, October 22, 2000 12:09 PM I can't take anymore George, marry me!!!! This makes me think of an old political science book. Called Speed and Politics. It's basic premise was that sure the paperwork and voting and lobbying is time consuming, but it's a great safety catch for protecting people from dictatorship or any other sides of policy making that if acted on too quickly would be detrimental or worse deathly. That even in democracy the time it takes to act on change gives us more time to reflect on movement and progress and where policies might lead us. I'm trying to imagine a man like R3 if he were even faster!
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (118 of 119), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: George Healy (malword@aol.com) Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2000 03:38 AM Candy-- Alas, relationships built on a mutual regard for a homicidal maniac seldom work out (did I find THAT out the hard way!) Seriously though, it's going to be hard to let Richard go as Halloween creeps upon us... it's a great time to tackle him and his play. Ah well, there's always Macbeth...
Topic: Richard III (male and female vewpoints) (119 of 119), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2000 11:15 AM ha ha ha!
Topic: October: Richard III (101 of 103), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ernest Belden (drernest@pacbell.net) Date: Saturday, October 28, 2000 06:49 PM Sorry, my response comes rather late. I did finish Richard III some time ago and went through the usual soul searching process. Actually I wanted a better understanding as to what was going on. Part of my problem is that I have very little background in drama and have read relatively few plays. Well my first impression of Richard was not the best and I was amazed about the Queen standing up to him. I would have expected Richard to get even with her. Secondly I thought that the actions and the drama was the outcome of chaotic political circumstances and then it turned out it was the war of the Roses. I have frequently heard about this war, but it was never clear in my mind what it was all about. The most interesting point for me was the order and type of presentation on a stage. In other words people have only a short time to have their say and it all needs to fit together to come to a climax. Well I don't know if you can fallow me on this particular point. There is the timing not only of action but also of emotions and interactions and all this takes place in a theater. This seems to be the most difficult part of the drama. Of course I had difficulties with Shakespeare's language and the numerous characters that appear in the play. This meant that I needed to go over some of the pages a number of time and look up the names. My edition was poorly annotated. I wish I had the time to spend some time reading up on what other people have said about this play and I also wish I knew more about Shakespearean drama. But it was a fine experience. Ernie
Topic: October: Richard III (102 of 103), Read 9 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Saturday, October 28, 2000 10:05 PM Thanks for posting your thoughts about RICHARD III, Ernie. I own a complete set of Shakespeare's plays from my teenage days when I had visions of reading all of them. That project has progressed v-e-r-y v-e-r-y slowly. It isn't annotated at all and I really miss that, but at least I can feel free to write in the book. Ann
Topic: October: Richard III (103 of 103), Read 6 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Sunday, October 29, 2000 07:42 AM You make a good point about the time that each character had to have their say, Ernie. I think that one of the reasons I liked this play less than the others of Shakespeare I've read is that there were too many characters with too little understanding of any of them. Someone here mentioned that this was one of Shakespeare's earlier plays and I'm wondering if that is part of the reason. Barb
Topic: October: Richard III (77 of 77), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ernest Belden (drernest@pacbell.net) Date: Monday, October 30, 2000 11:12 PM Barb, You have a very good point which makes a lot of sense to me. I had a similar feeling as you just expressed but could not put it into words and, as I said before, my background in drama, plays, etc., is minimal. I tried to understand how it all did hang together so that the spectator get the right impression and emotional impact. It is the ability to do that which calls for dramatic genius. Thinking about this matter made reading this play an interesting experience. I just reviewed the the comments regarding female perceptiveness of Richard III. As a rule women are much more perceptive than men. They sort of sense the way a man's mind works. I even remember a study which confirmed that. Women who state they have been taken in by a clever con artist may have looked the wrong way and had their own agenda.They want to avoid seeing the true picture. Ever since I became a psychologist I have been amazed and puzzled about female intuitive understanding of human behavior and motivation. Well women need quick understanding of men and interpersonal relations in the game of survival. Insight into people is a valuable asset in the process of natural selection. One wise male psychologist spontaneously stated: Men go on studying psychology and never get very good at it. Women with few exception are born psychologists. Apologetically I would say fellow males may have some compensatory skills, such as being handy with tools and sometimes being genuinely helpful around the house. Ernie

 

 

 
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