chapter  1
120 Pages

Richard III and the ostracized heritage of theater

When the protagonists of Shakespeare’s Richard III utter curses, they often emphasize the fact that these maledictory formulas have been approved or instituted by a higher authority; they even try to assimilate themselves to this process of institution. In I. iii, for example, Richard states that his father’s legitimate curses against Margaret coincide with the Almighty’s curse, so that they announce as well as execute a divine judgment:

RICHARD: His curses then, from bitterness of soul Denounc’d against thee, are all fall’n upon thee, And God, not we, hath plagu’d thy bloody deed.