Lady Anne’s Woes

Richard 3

Act 1, scene 2


After the death of Lady Anne’s father-in-law and husband, she seems quite distraught and is angered by Richard, knowing that he had a hand in each of the murders. Anne remarks about how much she despises Richard for his evil doing and says that she will never forgive him. However, this does not prevent Richard from persistently trying to win her over. After their banter, Anne gives in and Richard successfully woos her. Once Anne leaves, Richard then remarks about his successful quest to persuade Anne’s love while she is still mourning her loss.

This scene, although quite difficult to understand, marks Richard as a successful and relentless manipulator. By feigning a “gentle-like” personality, Richard plays with Anne’s emotion as he asks numerous times for forgiveness, thus solidifying the next step in his plan to get closer to the throne. Also, by persuading Anne that it was her beauty that made Richard kill her husband to have her all to himself, he removes part of the guilt away from himself, and gives it to Anne and her beauty. Again, this notion aids him in persuading her to forgive him as if he was blinded by her beauty that he couldn’t possibly do anything else but kill her husband.

Also, near the end of the scene, when Anne accepts that she cannot kill him, “Arise, dissembler: though I wish thy death / I will not be the executioner,” (I.ii.172–173). she suggests that she does not have the power that she thought she had over Richard. In turn, this allows Richard to now have power over her and her emotions, knowing that she would never want to harm him.

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