King Richard III Essay

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An episode in Richard III that has caused much controversy is Act I, scene ii, where Richard successfully woos Lady Anne over the corpse of her father-in-law, Henry VI, whom Richard himself has recently murdered. Nineteenth-century critics found Anne's acquiescence incredible and Shakespeare's invention of the scene inappropriate.

On the other hand, several twentieth-century critics have defended the scene as realistic or have acknowledged its importance to the themes of the play. Harold F. Brooks, for example, remarks that Richard's "breathtaking impudence" is supported by historical accounts of him at the time, and that the scene provides an effective counterpoint to Richard's later negotiations with Queen Elizabeth for her daughter's hand in marriage. Denzell S. Smith contends that the scene proves Richard's fitness as "God's scourge" against a nation mired in civil war. In wooing Anne, Smith asserts, Richard displays his skill at manipulating people by staying one...

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This section contains 1,308 words
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Buy the King Richard III Study Guide
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King Richard III from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.