Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Richard III – Logic Stage (2nd Level) Inquiry

Following the Grammar Stage inquiry, these are the further inquiries for the second level: Logic Stage. I have browsed the third level inquiry, the rhetoric stage, and found that we are required to take a more active role by directing the play on stage in our way. As I find this would be too consuming for me, and I don’t think I’d really need it, I decide to skip this stage; and it means this Logic Stage inquiry would be my final post for my WEM Self-Project, before I top my reading of Richard III with a final review in the few next days.

David Garrick as Richard III, by William Hogarth, approx. 1745
"Is there a murderer here?"

What genre does this play resemble?

This play is definitely a tragedy; telling the tale of the fall of Richard III. He has earned the crown by shedding too much blood; he built it not on the foundation of trust and respect, but on cruelty and fear which in the end proved to be the main cause of his fall.

Why did the playwright choose this particular set of techniques to move the play along? Is there some match between the genre and the subject of the play?

The nature of the story suits the genre well. The way Richard III ascended to the throne is quite smart, although harsh and illegal. However, it is because of the harsh way, that he finally lost his life. After sacrificing his conscience by murdering large numbers of men, Richard died only after two years, he must die in a battle. That is a tragedy.

How do the characters speak? Do their speech patterns differ?

Here I am comparing Richard and Richmond, because in the end they would fight each other over the throne and it would be interesting to compare their speech patterns. Richard’s speech is always with colors of hatred, disappointment of the world, suspicion; he seems to build a barrier against others. His speech reflects also his high determination and focus, passion of revenge and true spirit to do evil.

“I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time…”

“Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time…”

“I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous…”

(When Catesby suggested him to withdraw from battle field after he lost his horse, Richard insisted)
“Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die…”

While Richard always addresses his friends and armies merely as tools or slaves to reach his ambition, Richmond’s approach to his armies and friends is full of tenderness and care.

“Fellow in arms, and my most loving friends…”

His speech is calm, flowing in beauteous words, but full of authority. And he often carries the name of God in his speech.

“In God’s name, cheerly on, courageous friends,
To reap the harvest of perpetual peace
By this one bloody trial of sharp war.”

“All for our vantage. Then, in God’s name, march…”

While Richard’s speech produces a combination of over confidence and vigor, Richmond’s is reassuring and produces hope.

“The weary sun hath made a golden set,
And by the bright track of his fiery car,
Gives signal, of a goodly day to-morrow…”

Does the playwright lead you into a satisfying resolution?

My disappointment is that Richard’s death scene is not even dramatized here. I think, after the death of so many of Richard’s brutal murder victims, his own death would be tragic, and Richmond’s win (the resolution) would have been more glorious.

What is the play’s theme?

Why did Shakespeare take the trouble to re-write the history of this particular King of England to a play? First, I think, because Shakespeare was vexed by the War of Roses, a long enmity between House of Lancaster and York—which reminds me of the similar theme in Romeo and Juliet. It must have been frustrating for England when the royal family’s disputes affected their lives too. Second, Shakespeare might want to particularly point out the consequence of a royal family; where marriages are used for politics, and thus ruining families.


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