Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lady Ann and Richard: anger turned lust at a funeral

In Act 1 Scene 2, we are shown the interesting relationship between Lady Ann and Richard. Richard comes to her during a funeral procession and begins his wooing of her through a heated debate. In this argument he not only admits to killing her father but also her husband, all for the sake of loving her. Personally, I think this is just part of his plan to make it seem that he cannot live without her, and in some strange, twisted way, by knowing that he killed for her love is a symbol of his devotion. This symbol touches her so much that she abandons the funeral to await him in his home so that they can have a rendezvous.

I think that this one scene exemplifies the tremendous skill that Richard possesses. In a very short time he turns this young woman's scornful attacks of hatred and her hot tears for her dead father and husband into a sincere lust/ desire for him. He blatantly states that he wants to be in her bed in line 112 and in the lines following describes how her beauty haunts him in his sleep (line 122) and that she is both his day and his life (line 131-132). She retorts these lines with anger, such as wanting to kill him in order "to be revenged on thee" line 133. Yet, by the end of the scene she wishes she "knew thy heart" (line 180), accepts the ring that he gives her, and rushes off to his home, leaving her poor loved one's funeral procession! 

This complete 180 that Lady Ann undergoes in such a short time is questionable because in reality most people would not just run into bed with the person that murdered two family members unless maybe she had been wanting him while they were alive. I don't think that this is the case with Lady Ann, but Richard seems to have had his eye on her for a long time so he might have been planting this seed of lust long before he killed her father and husband. This is just the beginning of what Richard has in store for the characters of this play and I think that there is going to be many more incidences of his cunning and deception the deeper we get into this play.

1 comment:

Cyrus Mulready said...

You are right to think of this as a sign of things to come, Christina! I would be interested to know why you think Shakespeare chooses to give us this particular scene as a way of establishing Richard's manipulative villainy? Why show him wooing a woman? It's a peculiar choice, in a way, because it shows him being something that he said he *cannot* do in the opening ("be a lover"). Why establish this part of his character through such a scene?