Shakespeare wrote Richard III as a tragedy by using his own interpretation of Richard, choosing his words, thoughts and opinions carefully as at the time of Shakespeare writing this play Queen Elizabeth had employed Francis Walshingham as the head of the Secret Service. Francis then recruited espionage agents to listen to the conversations that were spoken by the public. Richard’s character was written as though anyone of his family or friends could have been an agent of the Secret Service as he would hide his true feelings and thoughts whenever anyone came on stage even though he had just told the entire audience his intentions at the very start of the play,Order now
“Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here Clarence comes.” These actions were also present at the time of the plays being written. In the soliloquy at the start of act 1 scene 1 Richard tells the audience what he intends to do throughout the play, and that is to become Anne’s husband and father, “Is to become her husband and her father.” By this, Richard means that to make amends for killing Anne’s husband and father-in-law he will marry her. That was one reason for marrying Anne but Richard has at least one more.
“As for another secret close intent” That could be to strengthen his right to the throne or just for the fun of a challenge. Or maybe he has two other reasons and that both of them are true. The language used at the end of act 1 scene 1 is written in verse, also when Richard calls Anne a “wench” and uses a well-known proverb “But yet I run before my horse to market” It is almost as though Richard has discarded royal heritage and become an average civilian. The action of the play from the previous scene is continuous as Anne follows the corpse of Henry VI, her father-in-law, as he is carried to St. Paul’s Cathedral. As the pallbearers put the corpse of Henry and Anne walks over and starts to lament his death.
“Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament” While Anne is lamenting, she mentions her dead husband, Edward “Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son,” Also during this speech, when Anne curses the murderer of her husband and father-in-law, “O, cursed be the hand that made these holes! Cursed the heart that had the heart to do it! Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence! That makes us wretched by the death of thee Than I can wish to wolves – to spiders, toads, Or any creeping venomed thing that lives If ever he have child, abortive be it, Prodigious, and untimely brought to light, Whose ugly and unnatural aspect May fright the hopeful mother at the view, And that be heir to his unhappiness!”
I believe that Anne knows whom the murderer is because when she starts to talk about the murderers child it seems to me as though she is describing Richard and the first reaction of Richard’s mother when she first saw him. Another reason that has led me to believe that Anne knows Richard is the murder is that when she is cursing the murderer and the murderers wife she uses only male references, “If ever he have child,” “And that be heir to his unhappiness.”
“If ever he have wife,””More miserable by the death of him” Then the reason she uses only male references could be that women might not have been thought capable of committing a single murder let alone two. As well as Anne cursing the murderer, she curses the murderers wife, should the murderer get married. “If ever he have wife, let her be made More miserable by the death of him Than I am made by my young lord and thee.” Again, this also backs up my idea that Anne knows who the murderer is. The stagecraft that is used is very dramatic as the stage would suddenly fill at least nine actors and, as the body of Henry VI would only be covered with a cloth, it is highly likely that blood from Henry’s wounds might have stained it. Another dramatic device used is repetition, “O, cursed be the hand that made these holes!
Cursed the heart that had the heart to do it! Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence!” The animal imagery that Anne uses runs throughout the play, “Than I can wish to wolves, to spiders, toads.” As the procession is about to set off again Richard bursts in and orders the pallbearers to put Henry’s body down, “Stay, you bear that corpse, and set it down.” In addition, when one of the guards points a halberd at his chest, Richard says “raise your halberd and don’t dare threaten me with it!”