PTS read-through: Richard II, act III (part ONE)
Witnessing the utter disintegration of a human being – even a fictional one – is, I’d suggest, an uneasy, distressing experience. And yet …
Voyeuristic shame accompanies the compulsion to keep spectating what is usually such a private affair. My first experience of this type of slow-mo car-crash literature was Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, when I was about 12. It scarred me – I’ve never quite been able to revisit Michael Henchard’s self-induced immolation; it also, I think, gave me my first seductive bittersweet taste of tragedy. Like that initial stolen underage drink, whilst I wasn’t quite sure I liked it, I wanted another – just to be certain.
Richard’s collapse is the most devastatingly beautiful in Shakespeare, perhaps in the wider canon: it begins here, spanning three poignant acts.
Continue reading “PTS 11/066: Alas, poor Richard …”