“For on that Ground I’ll make a holy Descant—”: Two con men show how their Thespian Skills Brought Richard’s Cause “to a Happy Issue”

  • Charles A. Hallett
  • Elaine S. Hallett


Shakespeare conceived the climactic scene of Richard III as the last in a series of obstacles that Richard proves himself able to overcome. His cunning performance as a holy recluse who has no desire to occupy the throne being offered him mollifies the recalcitrant citizens, transforming them from enemies to allies. In recent decades, however, critical opinion has deemed that Richard’s victory over the citizens results not from his diabolically inventive use of acting skills to disarm the people’s hostility but from their own cowardice and complicity. Shakespeare’s citizens have been equated with More’s citizens, so much so that stage Richards—Anton Lesser, for example—have been denied the pleasure of the conquest.


Dramatic Form Acceptance Speech Double Reversal Play Scene Line Scenario 
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Copyright information

© Charles A. Hallett and Elaine S. Hallett 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles A. Hallett
  • Elaine S. Hallett

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