Free Richard III Essays: Richard III as a Rapist

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Richard III as a Rapist

Yes, King Richard/Duke of Gloucester masters the art of seduction in his wooing of Lady Anne. And when I say, "masters the art," I guess I mean that he achieves his conquest. But is seduction really the prevailing theme throughout Richard III? I propose that we be careful when we say that Richard is a great seducer, for is it seduction or rape when one's consent is not given? For instance, Lord Hastings, the Duke of Clarence, the young princes, Queen Margaret, and other seeming "seducees," were they seduced or forced?

Most interesting to me, would be the Duke of Buckingham. I really can't determine which side of the issue he falls on. I would be most apt to consider him a disloyal, dishonest, money-grubbing, power mongerish, usurper if anything. And would almost admit that he could be conned into doing just about anything if there were to be some gain for his own. He begins his part in the play with thoughts of "atonement" (I.iii.36). He cries, "peace, peace, for shame! If not for charity" to the Queen Margaret when she beseeches him to "take heed of yonder dog [Richard]" (I.iii.272,288). Then when Richard asks him what Queen Margaret is saying, he replies with, "Nothing that I respect, my gracious Lord" (I.iii.294).

THEN, what is up with his speech of loyalty to King Edward? He goes on and on about how if he should EVER be "cold in love," to the King and his family, then "deep, treacherous, and full of guile" should he be (I.iv.38-40). He goes straight from this loyalty to committing Lord Rivers, Lord Grey and Sir Thomas Vughan to prison. He rants and raves at the Cardinal for not tearing the young Duke of York from his mother's arms. Finally he engineers the death of Hastings with Gloucester/Richard and sets everything into motion for his coronation. Is he seduced, is he forced, or does he just do what he wishes on whim, hoping that in the end, everything will turn out for his ultimate gain? I suppose the answer to my question lies in the dialogue betwixt the newly crowned King Richard and Buckingham, when Buckingham is confronted with the assignment of killing the two young princes. If Buckingham could have made known his intentions to the King then we would know if he was a seducee, or a forced man.
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