Week 4 – 5
What did I do?
Looked at the context for Richard III
Two things that stood out to me were:
The War of Roses
The War of Roses is named so because of the emblems of the houses of York and Lancaster, each house owns the symbol of a white and red rose respectively. Richard III was from the house of York. His brother, Edward IV, became king after defeating the Lancasters in battle. Their father, Richard 3rd Duke of York nearly unseated king Henry VI.
Queen Elizabeth, King Edward IV’s wife, faced much prejudice as an unroyal widow. There was propaganda spread that rumoured her and her family being involved in witchcraft; her mother’s account of the murders was rejected because of this. This explains the contempt with which the former Queen Elizabeth is treated in the play.
Discussed detailed summaries of the play
This helped me to consolidate my knowledge of the play’s sequence, as well as learn more on the reasoning and connections between characters. Through looking at the summary notes I learnt of the background of many characters such as Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby, being the step father of Henry VII (Richmond). I also learnt of the superstitious nature of Henry VII’s mother, who predicted that he would become king. From this, it is easier to understand why Shakespeare included so many prophecies and curses in his play – as the previous Queen Margaret essentially provides everyone with their own personal curse that they recognise just before their death or after an unfortunate incident has occurred.
To accompany the summary notes, at least for the first Act, the class watched The Hollow Crown adaptation of Richard III (2012).