Sunday, October 21, 2012

Richard or Iago?

Shakespeare begins his play already making the audience dislike Richard, duke of Gloucester. 

"I, that am rudely stamped and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time" (1.1.15-20) 

Firstly, he labeled women as whores which gives the audience the impression that he is a women hater. Shakespeare created him as deformed and disfigured also gives way to a negative personality and foreshadows issues later on in the play. Also, the way he describes his mother giving birth to him, almost spitting him out of her womb, like he was born unwanted and ugly. From this he explains to the audience his plans to embark on vicious felonies while ruining others relationships. In a way, Richard reminds me of Iago because of their wretched mindsets and desire to manipulate others around him. Richard wants to persuade the King to dislike Clarence because deep down, Richard is unhappy with his place in the hierarchy. Iago was very similar to this with his jealousy of Cassio being promoted over him. 

The scene that was the most outrageous was when Richard admits to us that he has killed Lady Anne's husband and father while trying to woo her. This really demonstrated how heartless Richard really is, he can kill this woman's lover and father and except her to overlook it to marry him. Although she does put up a fight for a few pages, she eventually gives in and accepts his ring BUT with no expectations of any returned feelings. 
Reading through Queen Elizabeth's conversation with Richard is another prime example of how  disrespectful he can be to women in power. He did not respect her authority with her choices of imprisonment (Clarene). 

Moving towards the end of scene 3, we get to see Queen Margaret unleash her inner thoughts. 
"Than death can yield me here by my abode.
A husband and a son thou ow’st to me;" (1.3.168-169). Richard owes Queen Margaret a son and a husband. While this is a horrible situation to be in, he responds calling her an ugly witch although she is the victim. As the conversation continues, Richard begins to disengage and ignore her presence in the scene. This reminds me again of Iago because he would use similar distasteful language against all women in the play. 
One of my favorite lines of scene three was 
"And leave out thee? Stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me" (1.3.218). She demanded his attention while she belittled him and got what he deserved. In Othello, the women did not stand up for themselves, they were obedient. In this play, the women are freer with their speech and begin to fight back! 

"Thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog,
Thou that wast sealed in thy nativity" lines like these would not be allowed in the play Othello!

I am excited to read the following scenes and see the progression of women in the hierarchy. 

1 comment:

Sam Montagna said...

I agree with you. The first thing I thought of was that Richard was like Iago. They both do not like their position and seek to change it through manipulation and deceit. Also, I really like how you mapped out exactly how Shakespeare makes the audience dislike Richard. This point lets the audience know from the start that Richard is bad and that he will have to work harder to gain the trust of not only the audience, but the characters in the play.