Subtitled: This Charming Man
What kind of teacher asks their students to do something they wouldn’t do themselves?
My latest Y12 Homework task was titled, yes, This Charming Man – students were asked to analyse the exchange between Richard and Anne in Act I scene ii of Richard III. Those who were feeling a bit flash were challenged to get in as many song titles as they could from The Smiths discography.
Here’s my attempt. The same basic rules apply as did last week , including the maximum word limit of 250 (as this is a snippet, not a full answer). For those who need a refresher on OCR‘s Assessment Objectives, they are:
AO1 (25%): articulate informed, personal and creative responses to literary texts, using associated concepts and terminology, and coherent, accurate, written expression.
AO2 (75%): analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in literary texts.
The only other thing I have done different today is to emphasise any song titles I’ve used thus, for those who are, ahem, too young to remember The Smiths.
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Richard III: I.i.20-21
Whilst Barbarism Begins At Home, with the betrayal of Clarence, here Shakespeare has The Boy With The Thorn In His Side act quickly and decisively to subdue Anne to his will. Whilst she evidences her lack of control by provoking Richard with the informal, insulting, address, ‘thou’, he remains aloof, unflappable with the respectful ‘you’, which puts on a deliberate show of false sincerity and respect. Shakespeare goes further, affecting some dishonest emotional turmoil on Richard’s part: he has him Ask permission to state where he is fit for, in an 11-syllable line given additional force by an opening trochee. The shared line and stichomythia evident in the repetition of ‘place’ keep the pace up, emphasising how heated the exchange is, even if the muted punctuation suggests it takes place at low volume. The three syllable pause after Richard’s bold sexual declaration acts as an implicit stage direction. It allows Anne to respond – perhaps in Panic, or to ask herself ‘What Difference Does It Make?’, because contextually, she is powerless to refuse him. Shakespeare also allows the audience to react. This could be to think about the dramatic irony created by Richard telling us his plans via soliloquy earlier, and to therefore reflect That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore. Or indeed, if we marvel at his facility with words, we might note that Bigmouth Strikes Again. Whatever interpretation we put on things, we are aware that Anne’s days are numbered. The passage foreshadows a Girlfriend In A Coma – or worse. [250 words]