Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Richard III: Act 4, Scene 4


tragedy strikes Epic Spring Break Road Trip of 2011. my Seany is sick! around 4am he started throwing up, and hasn't kept anything down since. needless to say, we did not head off to New Jersey today. sometimes it's just not in the cards. so instead of driving, i am attacking the most enormously long scene i have yet to come across and having another relaxing day. and taking care of poor Sean of course. as Richard is soon to learn, we make plans and God laughs. it must be true. when i googled the quote, it came up with a hundred different sources. anyway, we keep moving forward!

today we have yet another insane scene. you seriously won't believe it:

act 4, scene 4
Elizabeth and the Duchess are bemoaning their fate when they run into Margaret. Margaret is pretty pleased that she was right all along, and doesn't hesitate to tell them so. (see quote below.) Elizabeth asks her to teach her how to curse, and Margaret tells her that grief will be her teacher. Margaret leaves and Richard enters, on his way to battle. the Duchess (Richard's mother) tells Richard that she wishes she could've strangled him in her womb. she prays that the other side will win in battle, tells him she she will never see him again, and leaves. before Elizabeth can go, Richard asks her about her daughter, also named Elizabeth. Elizabeth (senior) cannot believe Richard's audacity. she will have none of it, and tells Richard so in every way possible. then Richard uses his old line, telling Elizabeth that he did all of the bad things he did out of love for young Elizabeth. Richard uses every line and angle he's got to get Elizabeth to woo her daughter for him. Elizabeth comes back at him with more strength than we've ever seen from her before. finally, he threatens that if he doesn't have Elizabeth for a wife, he will rip England apart, killing mercilessly until he has her. Elizabeth can hardly believe it, but she finally has to cave into him. she leaves, and many messengers come and go delivering good and bad news. most importantly, Richmond is on his way with an army to claim the throne and Buckingham's army was scattered in a flood. Buckingham is taken prisoner by Richard's people, and Richard is headed off to battle.

so much to say! first of all, good for Elizabeth for finally speaking up for herself. i love that she begs Margaret to teach her how to use her words against Richard, but then finds it in herself to battle him. i thought she was winning against him until he brought up 'death, desolation, ruin, and decay' for England. then she caved. it is unclear to me whether she is giving in because she wants what's best for England or because she's tired and just wants to be comfortable again. or a little of both? or is she just bluffing? not sure. what do you think?

i cannot BELIEVE Richard used that same line again that he used on Anne. like... for real?!?! i killed all of these people because i love you?!?! come onnn. he is the most incredible character. i can't even believe it. i hate to use such a vulgar phrase, but i truly can't think of a better way to describe it... he's got balls. huge ones. unbelievable.

it's interesting too to see him starting to lose it. toward the end of the scene, we see that he's starting to become forgetful, scattered, and paranoid. he is sending people off to take care of business and forgets to give them orders. and he has trouble commiting to orders once he makes them. in one of my favorite parts of the scene that i didn't go into above, he asks Stanley to go gather an army. Stanley says he will, but Richard tells him that he knows he is lying and that he is really going to join forces with Richmond. Stanley assures him he is loyal, but Richard can't trust anyone, so he forces Stanley to leave his son with him as collateral. crazy, huh? i guess that's what happens when you burn all your bridges. if no one can trust you, eventually you will not be able to trust anyone either.

this play is amazing!!!

quote of the day:
'thus hath the course of justice whirled about
and left thee but a very prey to time,
having no more but thought of what thou wast
to torture thee the more, being what thou art.
thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
usurp the just proportion of my sorrow?
now thy proud neck bears half my burdened yoke,
from which even here i slip my weary head
and leave the burden of it all on thee.
farewell, York's wife, and queen of sad mischance!
these English woes shall make me smile in France!'
     -Margaret; act 4, scene 4

for tomorrow: act 4, scene 5 and act 5, scenes 1-3

-rebecca may

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