RICHARD II (part 2 of 3)

  • April 13, 2014 · 5:30 PM
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LIMIT is 8: We will be going over the second third of the play. RSVPs will close when we reach 8. A repeat session will be opened on the following Sunday, should we reach our limit for this gathering. 


The format will be one of providing guided teaching/presenting of the second third of the play with passages and quotes chosen for their poignancy and poetic beauty. The gathering is also focused on discussions of the universal social, philosophical and psychological insights in the play that we collectively can dig up! 


Look forward to seeing you! 


Afsaneh

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  • Afsaneh M.

    "For within the hollow crown that rounds the mortal temples of a King - Keeps death his court - and there the antic sits - Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp - Allowing him a breath, a little scene - To monarchize, be feared and kill with looks." (First piece of Shakespeare I ever memorized!!) Richard's speech, where he assumes death to be the real puppet-master behind the post of a King, is profound. From a mystical perspective, power and death belong to the same camp, neither is about the real essence of life, the "humble heart"... And in many brief moments, especially when he knows he's about to falll, our Richard seems to grasp that. …. Oh… that "Hollow Crown!"

    April 13

    • Rob R

      Recognizing the destructive consequences of his self-absorption and self-delusion, Richard echoes John of Gaunt's earlier tirade: Thy deathbed is no lesser than thy land,
      Wherein thou liest in reputation sick;
      ... A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,
      Whose compass is no bigger then thy head;
      And yet, incaged in so small a verge,
      The waste is no whit lesser than thy land.

      April 14

    • Afsaneh M.

      I'm not so sure he recongizes his own role in his downfall in this particular speech. He kind of plays victim to "death" the antic, who he's only now getting to recognize. It was this antic that tricked him into believing in all that he had, and to live the way he did and "kill with looks" ... and that ended up causing his downfall. Gaunt scolds the "flatterers", to Richard, the crown is haunted by the devil himself, it seems.

      April 14

  • Rob R

    Afsaneh, the point I tried to make at our meeting about how contemporary audiences saw King Richard may be summed up in this passage from Machiavelli's The Prince: "What will make [the ruler] despised is being considered inconstant, frivolous, effeminate, pusillanimous, and irresolute: a ruler must avoid contempt as if it were a reef. He should contrive that his actions should display grandeur, courage, seriousness and strength . . . A ruler who succeeds in creating such an image of himself will enjoy a fine reputation; and it will be difficult to plot against him or to attack him."

    April 14

    • Afsaneh M.

      Thanks for the expansion of this point, Rob. Didn't Machiavelli also prefer being "feared" to being "loved?"... I don't know enough about him, except that the name kind of stirs up some negatives - like "goodness" not being an important quality, and "effectiveness"­ being preferred to it. That kind of black-and-white viewing of things... As for Richard, he certainly was ineffectual, relied too much on his advisers. But loving the arts being considered "effeminate" is debatable, in my opinion. The French have always had "grands projets" for Paris- that's why it always has maintained its majesty and displays "grandeur." continued

      April 14

    • Afsaneh M.

      To me, Richard's love for things refined seems legitimate, it was his lack of know-how regarding to be able to lead effectively, that was the problem. You can be artistically refined - Napoleon commissioned Haussman to re-design much of Paris - but also know how to rule. The Arts, the "effeminate" side, doesn't have to be separate from the grandness, or the effectiveness of a ruler.

      April 14

  • Betsy L.

    Afsaneh, I read the use of "antic" in the passage you quoted (how interesting that it was the first passage you memorized), as not just as death the puppet-master, but as the clown, the buffoon, the jester who fools you and then when you are not expecting it, reveals the trick behind the buffoonery. (Pulls the rug out from under you.) As usual, I enjoyed our discussion last night.

    April 14

    • Afsaneh M.

      yeah, yeah Betsy! Death is a joker of a puppet-master. And when you get deeper into this speech, it points to how "fickle" the concept of the "crown" is, something that only a sinister entity like a jesting "death" would devise for man.

      April 14

  • Betsy L.

    I should be able to make it -- possibly not till 5:45 pm or so.

    March 16

  • Jean

    I will be out of town on the 13th, but should be able to make the 2nd session.

    March 16

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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