This play has a lot going on in this first act. It is a little difficult to keep straight, but there is quite a bit of it that I recognize from other plays that we have read. One of the first things that I wanted to point out was the magic/curse/spell reference. We saw this in our last play Othello and in A Midsummer Nights Dream. I also noticed that this play has a villain that we are going to get to know quite well, much like we get to know Iago well in Othello. The one difference about this play however is that the title is Richard III so we are going to get to know a villain better than we are the hero, as we do in the other plays we have read.
I want to take a closer look at this villain and particularly his wooing and relationship with Anne. At the end of 1.1, we see Richard saying that he is going to woo over Anne but not because he loves her but rather because of what he will get out of it, “The which will I, not all so much for love as for another secret close intent by marrying her which I must reach unto” 1.1.158-160. Richard has killed Anne’s father and husband, but he says, “What though I killed her husband and her father?” 1.1.155. He really does not care all that much that he will use a woman in grief to get what he wants, something to benefit from. Right in Act 1 we see our main character as a sick, twisted man (twisted appropriate considering his physical appearance).
Act 1.2 opens with Anne morning over her father at some sort of ceremony, like a funeral. Richard could care less that he has just killed this man and has the audacity to show up and try and woo this woman. Anne makes reference to a “black magician” who has sent him to the place at that time (1.2.34-35). Anne is so angry that he is there, and he calls her an angry angel, and continuously compliments her beauty. Anne does put up a good verbal fight for quite some time, but at the end of the scene Richard gives her a ring to wear, and she seems to be playing a little hard to get, and seems flirtatious in a way, but wears it anyway. She is not the strongest female character we have seen in our plays thus far that is for sure! This is a great play so far, but I am hoping our class discussion will help “smooth out the wrinkles” in the story!