THE “INCANTATORY” RHETORIC OF RICHARD III. Tony Tanner points out (in PREFACES TO SHAKESPEARE, p.361) another characteristic of Richard III: “There is another kind of rhetoric which runs continuously throughout the play, against which Richard’s individual voice is heard….a formal, incantatory marmorealizing, ritualized, choric rhetoric of lamentation and mourning, most closely associated with the wailing queens.” We saw Richard III at the Globe in London, with all the parts played by women. Kathryn Hunter as Richard and Amanda Harris as Buckingham gave strong performances. But the scene with the “wailing queens”—- indeed, ritualized and formal—was troubling for all of us. The current Richard III shortens the wailing queen scene, but the characters other than Richard do often turn to the tone that Tanner describes, a ritualized mourning.

This entry was posted in Literature, Shakespeare, Theater. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.