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Unformatted text preview: Elizabeth on his behalf. She resists, throwing his past behaviour to members of her family back in his face. Richard pushes himself and his ability with words to the limit, but for the only time in the play he finds his verbal match. The ‘duel’ ends with Elizabeth saying she will go to her daughter. Richard takes this to mean that, 3 despite all her protestations, she has agreed to his demands, and describes the Queen as a shallow fool. Immediately various different people enter with conflicting news about Richmond, Buckingham, and various new revolts springing up in different parts of England. Richard accuses Stanley (Richmond’s stepfather) of being against him, which Stanley denies. Richard says that he will hold Stanley’s son, George, hostage to ensure that he remains loyal to the crown. It is established at last that Richmond has landed an army in Wales. Buckingham has been defeated and captured. Scene 5:In a very short scene Stanley sends a message to Richmond informing him that Queen Elizabeth has agreed to the marriage of Richmond to her daughter. The true winner of the ‘duel’ is revealed. Features: The ‘duel’ in Scene 4 represents the climax of Richard’s dealings with women in the play. The women have generally been against him from the beginning – by his own admission, he is not built to be attractive to ladies. However, he did manage to woo Anne and he tries almost identical tactics with the Queen, attributing his past bad actions to his love for her daughter. He works energetically to distance his past actions from his future intentions. She, however, throws it all back in his face. There has been no love lost between them whenever they have met, but the Queen has always tended to get the worst of exchanges until now. The language of the duel is extraordinarily rich, but it is also equal. There is no sense that Richard is getting the better of his opponent. It is she, in fact, who leaves him with an ambiguous exit, which he, lulled by his own previous successes, takes to be a giving‐in to his demands. Following the flurry of plot‐related action, Shakespeare is quick to let us know in Scene 5 that this verbal duel with the Queen is Richard’s first significant defeat. The flurry of messengers with news shows how differently news was gathered in those days. People were entirely dependent on eye‐witness reports, many of which contradict each other. They contribute to a sense of uncertainty, but also to a sense that, by the end of the Act, all Richard’s careful plotting is unraveling and he is heading for disaster. Questions: 1.
6. Why does Richard want to talk to Queen Elizabeth? How does Elizabeth advise Richard (ironically) to woo her daughter? What does Elizabeth agree to do at the end of her conversation with Richard? What does Richard think she has agreed to do at the end of the conversation? What is Richard’s response to the forces gathering against him? What are the two items of information that Stanley sends to Richmond? Explain the following quotation: a) “And I’ll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty,/ Slander myself as false to Edward’s bed, Throw over her the veil of infamy.” (li 206 sc.4) b) “Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,/ A pair of bleeding hearts;” (li 272 sc.4) 4 c) “But in your daughter’s womb I bury them,/ Where, in that nest of spicery, they will breed/ Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.” (li 424 Sc.4) d) “…but leave behind/Your son George Stanley. Look your hearts be firm./ Or else his head’s assurance is but frail.” (li 497 sc.4) e) “That in the sty of the most deadly boar/ My son George Stanley is franked up in hold;” (li 2 sc.5) 5...
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