Act Two: More Intrigue and the Passing of a King

Act Two of Richard the Third begins in the palace, as King Edward IV has gathered together the nobles for a reconciliation session.  This is some urgency in this for Edward, as he “every day expect(s) an embassage // From (his) Redeemer to redeem (him) hence” (II.i.3-4).  Thus, no one is “exempt” (II.i.18); even the Queen and her kinsmen must set aside their differences with others in the court.
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Act One, Scene Four: I Wish my Brother George was Here (not)

In Act One, Scene Four of Richard the Third, we find ourselves in the first scene that doesn’t have our title character in it.  The locale is George Duke of Clarence’s cell in the Tower of London.

When his “keeper” asks him why he looks so “heavily” (I.iv.1) on this day, George recounts for him his dream from the night before, a set of dreams so terrible that he would not choose to see them again, even if “’twere to buy a world of happy days” (I.iv.6).  What could have been so bad?
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Act One, Scenes Two and Three: Mr. Manipulator

When we left off at the end of Act One, Scene One of Richard the Third, we knew of Richard’s plot against George Duke of Clarence, Queen Elizabeth’s family taking over royal positions, Edward’s Mistress Shore, Hastings’ imprisonment and release, and the king’s sudden illness.  We had also just learned of Richard’s plan to marry Lady Anne, widowed (by Richard and his brothers) to Prince Edward, daughter of Warwick.
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What to Cut

Man, as I begin to read Richard the Third, I’m finding it very long and very tough sledding.

or is this just post-holiday lethargy?

Anthony Sher’s great book Year of the King (which I’ll review later in the month) discusses the pain of making cuts to the text, but what to cut?

The play is rarely performed unabridged, but what to cut?

Sometimes entire characters are cut, but who to cut?

This is something I’ll need to think about as I read… stay tuned for a discussion later in the month.

Podcast 26: Richard the Third Preview

This week’s podcast includes a preview of our month-long discussion of Richard the Third, including a sampling of different versions of the opening soliloquy (including Olivier, “An Age of Kings,” BBC Collected Works, English Shakespeare Company, McKellen, Branagh, and Royal Shakespeare Company), a review of the film Me and Orson Welles, and a recap of this week’s blog entries.
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Act One, Scene One… Inductions Dangerous

Richard the Third opens differently than any other play we’ve read thus far.

  • Comedy: entrance of Duke of Ephesus with prisoner; court proceeding
  • Titus: entrance of nobles/political discussion (or funeral procession)
  • Taming: entrance of two travelers into a city scene
  • 1HenryVI: funeral procession
  • 2HenryVI: wedding procession
  • 3HenryVI: entrance of Yorkists into palace

Enter Richard Duke of Gloucester solus.
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Memories of Things to Come (or, “Words”)

Remember how last week, when discussing Richard’s deformities, we noted that Richard has a tendency to expand upon what others have said?
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