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Shakespeare - Richard III

by: Kimberly Burke

Shakespeare - Richard III EH 403

Kimberly Burke
Jacksonville State University
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

These are my in class notes on Richard III. The page numbers are from Riverside Shakespeare.
Shakespeare I
Dr. Gates
Class Notes
Shakespeare, history, Richard III
25 ?




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kimberly Burke on Thursday March 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EH 403 at Jacksonville State University taught by Dr. Gates in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Shakespeare I in Foreign Language at Jacksonville State University.


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Date Created: 03/03/16
Shakespeare – Richard III • Characters o Duchess of York – Edward IV, Richard, Edmund, and Clarence’s mother, widow, protective of Elizabeth & her children, hates Richard o Richard – Duke of Gloucester à King, deformed, villain/evil § Killed by Richmond § First 3 Acts – Richard is called Duke of Gloucester; called King Richard later § Dictator who gets rid of his enemies – snapping behavior, turns on people, tyrant § Has a moment of guilt in his last soliloquy o Buckingham – Richard’s right hand man o King Edward IV – Richard & Clarence’s older brother o Queen Elizabeth – wife of King Edward IV, mother of 2 young princes & Dorset & Gray & Elizabeth, sister to Rivers § Courted for her daughter Elizabeth § Has her 2 young sons taken from her § Previously married to a Lancaster § Suspicious wife of Edward IV • Wooing scene – Edward IV’s brothers see him woo for the first time o Negative view of Queen Elizabeth o Young Elizabeth – Queen Elizabeth’s daughter, wanted by Richard, betrothed the Richmond at the end of the play o The princes – sons of King Edward IV & Queen Elizabeth § Richard has the boys murdered by Tyrell in the Tower of London § Edward V – Richard’s nephew, Edward IV’s son o Clarence – Edward IV & Richard’s younger brother, has a son & daughter § Murdered by Richard o Dorset – son of Queen Elizabeth from previous marriage § Murdered by Richard o Gray - son of Queen Elizabeth from previous marriage § Murdered by Richard o Rivers – brother of Queen Elizabeth, flees & survives o Anne – young widow of Prince Edward (son of former King Henry VI), wooed by Richard, dies of sickness o Margaret – widow of late King Henry VI, mother of Prince Edward, prophetic o Ratcliffe & Catesby – Richard’s lackeys o Tyrell – murderer, hired by Richard to kill the princes o Richmond – member of Lancaster family, gathers forces to challenge Richard for the throne, kills Richard, Christ-like warrior § Becomes Henry VII, father to Henry VIII § Has the last speech of the play o Hastings – lord who is loyal to the royal family, killed by Richard § Richard: “off with his head” o Lord Stanley – Richmond’s stepfather, secretly helps Richmond but pretends to be for Richard o Lord Mayor of London – used by Richard in his plan to become king o Vaughan – friend of Elizabeth, Dorset, Rivers, & Gray § Murdered by Richard with Dorset & Gray • Shakespeare condenses history b/c he could leave things understood b/c of the audience he wrote for • Actual Title – The Tragedy of Richard III o Macbeth is a later version of Richard III o Will do anything to become king • Cohesiveness of the play o Biblical analogies – like Cain & Able • Buildup to Clarence’s murder – Richard builds plan to take over throne of England o House of York has just taken over • Margaret of Anjou – character across 4 history plays • Wooing Scene – Richard woos Lady Anne – pg.775-756 o Richard is not suited to be romantic o Interrupts the body of Anne’s father in law (Henry VI) being buried in the family tomb § Richard killed Henry VI & his son (Edward) o Richard stops Anne & tells her why she needs a new husband o Anne agrees to marry him by the end of the scene § Vehemently against him at first – he killed her husband & father in law § Wants to reform/change Richard • Takes his word that he is changed by love • Power of Richard o Stichomythia – rapid fire one liners, argumentative § Pick up what one person says & reverse it § Common in wooing scenes • Shape of the Play – parallel wooing scenes o 2 – Richard asks for hand of young Elizabeth (his niece) by wooing her mother, Queen Elizabeth § Ends with no conclusion b/c Queen Elizabeth says she has to ask her daughter’s opinion § Richard thinks he has won Queen Elizabeth over – crack in his facade • Act 1, scene 4 o Hire people to kill Clarence & blame someone else § Richard contrives to make it look like King Edward IV ordered the death of Clarence • Frame the death on a misunderstanding of orders o Clarence & Richard are married to sisters (Neville family) • Richard wants to kill family members close to the throne o Even kill of/ get rid of Clarence’s sons o Get rid of sons of Edward IV – illegitimate father & sons o Edward IV will die of sickness o Make it look like he’s a good guy • Edward IV dies – Richard is protector of his son’s o Nephews are ahead of Richard for the throne o He gets Buckingham to do the dirty work • Coronation scene – Richard becomes King, orders nephews dead o Richard bypasses the princes o Buckingham calls Richard king early by accident • Richard has no biological heir – tells people Anne is sick so he can get a wife to give him an heir • Anne says that Richard is sleepless & keeps her up at night – dreams o Richard wants to marry his niece young Elizabeth § She actually marries Richmond (Henry VII) in the end • Hastings raises objection & pisses Richard off – shows how mean he can be o Richard: “Off with his head” o Richard attacks Hastings § Parallel to Buckingham (helps Richard consolidate power) • Strangles the princes, but hesitates when Richard gives the orders • Margaret – 2 scenes – widow of Henry VI o Act 1, scene 3 – prophecy § Supposed to be exiled to France § Vehemently against line of Tudors § Vs. Act 4, scene 4 – I told you so, should have listened o Shows how bad Richard is o Prophecy are recalled by people who become Richard’s victims o Act 4, scene 4 § Rhetorically patterned, listing § Margaret precursor for how witches function • Act 4, scene 4 o Margaret watches destruction happen o Grieving mothers o Line 40 – people Richard has killed o Line 49 – Richard has been deformed since he was in the womb, blackening of his character o Line 124 – credit Margaret, wants to be taught how to curse enemies o Encouragement to curse Richard – full of bad things to say o Stichomythia – Richard asking for Queen Elizabeth’s daughter o Line 431 – Richard’s 1 line soliloquy o Richard thinking about future (new wife & kids) – realizes he has to act faster • Ghost scene o Sequence of ghosts appear to Richard to curse him & bring good news to Richmond • Act 5, scene 3 – sequence of Richard’s victims o Hastings dies before princes o We don’t see Anne die o Buckingham gives speech on the way to hanging • Dreams o Clarence dreams he is killed by Richard • Lady Anne references to a creature – basilisk o Name she calls her husband by Plantagenet (people associated with Henry VI) • Difference between 1 executioner & 2 executioner o 1 feels remorse; 2 calls 1 a coward • Henry wants Lord Stanley’s son to stay behind o Fears that Stanley will go over to Richmond’s side o 1 time we see Stanley is with Richmond • Duchess of York vs. Margaret o Duchess – mother to Clarence, Richard, & Edward IV; widow of Richard, Duke of York § Matriarch still connected to power o Margaret – widow to past king, disconnected § Richard killed Henry, harsh to Richard • Soliloquies o 1) Introduces War of the Roses background info & Richard as deformed villain o 2) Richard has spoken to Clarence about going to the tower, Richard reveals his plot to kill Clarence § Richard – brief, effective, full plot revealed later o 3) blame Clarence’s death on King Edward, marry Anne scheme/plot, arrogance & selfish motive revealed later o 4) mocking self-importance, ‘look what I got away with’ o 5) Queen Margaret cursed everyone, nothing would be happening if he wasn’t doing it, plan to frame Queen Elizabeth & her allies § Like Hamlet’s soliloquy – announcing plots nd o 7) 2 murderer – total regret, biblical allusion to Pilot b/c senseless murder of Clarence o 8) 1 murderer – sneering at 2 murderer for being hesitant § foreshadows that someone will realize that Richard had him kill Clarence o 9) Scrivener has indictment for Hastings § People turn their heads b/c they’re afraid of Richard § Shakespeare’s histories – present regal characters & commoners comment on action • Scrivener – commoner, copies official orders § Speeches that end in rhyming couplets o 10) plan to marry young Elizabeth, loosing allies, intelligent & ruthless, deep in blood o 11) Richard’s complete consumption of power o 12) killers are remorseful, Richmond is interested in Elizabeth but Richard needs to marry her to right his wrongs § Tyrell didn’t complete the murder – Villains he hired to murder feel guilty § Pure language, slaughter of innocence o 13) looking back & forward, “a jolly thriving warrior,” bridge to next wooing, Richmond is rival wooer o 14) bragging that everyone is getting what they deserve, mourning lost men § Next scene – power from listening when they don’t know she’s there • Tells audience ‘told you so’ first o 15) King Richard’s true reaction to Queen Elizabeth, contrast to soliloquy 4, rapid fire conversation of bad military news o 16) Psychological high point – ghosts, prayer-like, confident tone, Richmond is reinforced as good guy o In between 16 & 17 is significant – realize Richard’s downfall o 17) real pangs of conscience, Richmond is being given good words is part of Richard’s nightmare – fears Richmond is taking the throne


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