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ENG220Y1 Lecture Notes - Scoliosis, Hyperbole, Preterm Birth

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Elizabeth Harvey

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Richard III
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
6:14 PM
January 22, 2014
Richard III:
Play based on the chronicles of England
Considered a propaganda play
Designed to celebrate the myth of the Tudors, may or may not be true
Political truths could be fabricated
The reign of the Tudors could be perceived as a release from the villain
In 2012, a skeleton was found in Leicester and was determined to belong to Richard III
The skeleton had evidence of scoliosis; the portrayal of Richard III in the play is that he
is deformed and ugly
Died by a whack on the head with a sharp object, but there are other blows to the head
and other injuries, possible battle wounds
Was written early in Shakespeare's writing career; his authorship wasn't claimed
Was a popular text because there was multiple quartos; there are six of them and they
vary in content; begs the question of where the source came from, was it from rough
copies or from memory from the actors who would have been familiar with the text
Act One:
oSense of being trapped because of his deformity
oThe main problem could be that he knows that he's not attracted to woman, but
he does have access to woman
oEroticism motivates him

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oDriven by ambition
oBecomes a possibility to do evil because he is exiled from the possibility of good
by his deformity
oSpeech seems like a narrative
o"sun of York" refers to his older brother
oThe beginning of the speech is of victory
oTransition from the military world into women and sexuality that Richard is exiled
from because of his appearance
oThere could be a hint misogyny; "a wanton ambling nymph"; a sense that they do
not deserve his attention, inferior to him
oA coupling of nature and the womb that has resulted in his disfigurement; blames
his deformity upon premature birth
oRecurring metaphor of shadow and sun
oRichard / Gloucester becomes invisible to everyone but the audience
oThere is something feminine about Edward because he allows women to sway
oSays he will free his brother from prison, but really he will be enfranchised from
life; Richard will betray Clarence
oDeep irony
oAnother soliloquy that reveals his soul, discrepancy of what he shows to others
and what he really is
oConniving humour
oRichard is a master and actor of manipulation and listening
oSex and death are juxtaposed; ironic because sex brings life not death
oExiled from sex; but it's what propels the genealogy of the monarch; so sex is not
only a motivation for him but a security blanket for his power to remain within his
opolyptoton "bloodless remnant of that royal blood"
oAnaphora of cursing; performative language (language becomes action such as
"I do" in weddings)when you curse someone, there is the belief that the words will
lead to actions; the cursed with actually be cursed; rhetorical because it rebounds
oLanguage of animalology is present; Richard is constantly referred to animals
oLady Anne curses the wife that will become her in the future
oAnne talks to Richard as if he is a devil; aligns Richard with the demons;
language of witchcraft
oWounds are being likened to mouths, speaking with blood to tell the truth that
Richard killed her husband; the wounds start bleeding again in Richard's presence
which suggests this idea that he is the murderer
oRichard is connected to the netherworld of strange things
oResponds to the curses with flattery
oThe repetition makes them closer; the exchange becomes shorter and shorter
oWeaving a chain of connection with this echo
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