'I am I': A Lacanian Analysis of Richard III

by Aisling Hearns

November 30, 2011


abstract

The Neurotic derives pleasure from watching the theoretical depiction of tragedy. There appears to be a special connection between the works of Shakespeare and psychoanalysis. Freud and Lacan have both given in-depth analyses of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This paper looks at another Shakespearean tragedy, Richard III. The role of Shakespearean language plays a significant role in this interpretation. A question of structure is discussed in reference to the character ‘Richard of Gloucester.’ It is hypothesised that Richard has regressed to the Lacanian Mirror Stage and brings about a resolution to this Mirror Stage within the play. The character of Richard, who suffers from congenital deformities, raises some questions of clinical relevance, such as, issues of entitlement for both the client and the analyst, and the effect of the Mirror Stage on children who are physically deformed.

article

Introduction: A Tragic Beginning

 

Jacques Lacan argues that Freud ‘derived his inspiration, his way of thinking and his technical weapons’ from imaginative literature rather than from the sciences. On such a view, the precursors of Freud are not so much Charcot and Janet, Brücke and Helmholtz, Breuer and Fliess, but the rather more exalted company of Empedocles and Heraclitus, Plato and Goethe, Shakespeare and Schopenhauer.[1]

There is no denying that psychoanalysis and literature have a special connection.  We can place Freud in both the domain of literary criticism and the domain of psychoanalysis.[2] Whether it is through the psychoanalytic interpretation of an unconscious mechanism or a critical interpretation of a poem, both psychoanalyst and literary critic become one and the same: conceptual rhetoricians.[3] Decades before Lacan’s Rome Discourse,[4] Trilling highlights the importance of Freud’s work in the interpretation of language. ‘In the eighteenth century Vico spoke of the stages of culture; it was left to Freud to discover how, in a scientific age, we still feel and think in figurative formations, and to create, what psychoanalysis is, a science of tropes, of metaphor and its variants, synecdoche and metonymy.’[5]

We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep[6]

Green believes that the connection between theatre and psychoanalysis lies in the dream. ‘The theatre, by imposing darkness and silence on the audience, simulates the state of sleep on which the disregarded wishes of the day burst forth in the hallucinations of the dreaming mind.’[7] He compares the theatre to the ‘other scene,’[8] the unconscious. He equates the edge of the stage to the line of separation that occurs within the subject, separating what is conscious and what is unconscious.[9] Freud states, ‘It seems quite possible to apply the psycho-analytic views derived from dreams to products of ethnic imaginations such as myths and fairy-tales.’[10] Language in theatre closely relates to language in the psychoanalytic clinic; ‘…the art of the theatre is the art of the malentendu, the misheard and the misunderstood.’[11] At a conference on ‘Shakespeare and Psychoanalysis,’ a question of the credibility of adequately studying fictional characters was raised. Dr. Jose Barchilon of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and Society responded by saying: ‘Well, I have studied many “real” people in hospitals. And their stories are all fiction. If you want to know about real people, go to literature.’[12]

It is worth considering that two of the three pieces of literature Freud classes as awe-inspiring are Sophocles’ play Oedipus and Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Freud stated ‘The poets were here before me’ and, according to Bloom, this ‘poet’ was Shakespeare.[13] Bloom views the work of Freud as a prose-reading of Shakespeare. He claims that Freudian psychology is a Shakespearean invention. According to Bloom ‘there isn’t anyone before Shakespeare who actually gives you a representation of characters or human figures speaking out loud, whether to themselves or to others or both, on what they themselves have said. And then in the course of pondering, undergoing a serious or vital change – becoming a different kind of character or personality, and even a different kind of mind.’[14] In Shakespeare’s Macbeth we can see the suggestion of the psychoanalytic method to treat mental anguish. Macbeth asks of his doctor:

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,

Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,

Raze out the written troubles of the brain,

And with some sweet oblivious antidote

Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff

Which weighs upon the heart?

 To which his doctor replies: ‘Therein the patient must minister to himself.’[15]

Starting from the age of eight, Freud read the works of Shakespeare repeatedly. He is said to have admired Shakespeare’s power of expression, along with his insight into human nature.[16] Although Freud admired Shakespeare’s works, he continually denied Shakespeare’s identity,[17] thus showing an unconscious hostility; not unlike the aggressivity produced by the Lacanian Mirror Stage when the infant perceives a more capable, whole image as his reflection.

Tragedy, and the portrayal of tragedy, has always been part of human history. What is it about tragedy that awakens our interest? In Green’s psychoanalytic reading of European Tragedies he finds a negative Oedipus complex (portrayed as male hostility towards the female) to be located at the root of tragedy i.e. in Aeschylus’s Oresteia, the son murders the mother; in Shakespeare’s Othello, the husband kills the wife; and in Racine’s Iphigénie à Aulis, the father murders the daughter.[18] Green combines Aristotle’s theory of ‘relations of kinship’ with the concept of signifier/signified and ends up with the Lacanian concept of the Paternal Metaphor. The psychoanalyst enters into the realm of tragedy with such ease because he recognises the conflicts of the unconscious, which exist in mankind.

Shakespearean Tragedy, defined as a ‘tale of suffering and calamity conducting to death,’[19] represents life in a particular way.[20] What is important to note in Shakespearean Tragedy is that calamities do not just occur. They are a result of the actions of men. If Hamlet was actually insane, or if Lear suffered a bout of madness when he divided his kingdom, these characters would not be tragic.[21] A Tragedy is only defined as such when the audience can identify in some way with the hero. ‘His tragic characters are made of the stuff we find within ourselves and within the persons who surround them.’[22] When Shakespeare introduces supernatural forces into the play, he keeps them close to the character and we are never allowed to feel that these forces have caused the tragic nature of the hero. The hero must always be responsible. Shakespeare’s heroes have their faults and they are not all good. The tragic hero, when villainous, needs to inspire a desire for his defeat from the audience. In order to add a tragic element to Richard III, Shakespeare wrote Richard as exciting, dark and witty. The audience knows Richard deserves to die but find it tragic that he does.

In a world so full of tragedy but so focused on pleasure, positivity and perfection, tragic theatre allows people to experience the raw and painful side of humanity through the Imaginary, whilst keeping up a barrier from the Real, and feeling contained by their Symbolic medium. The Shakespearean play of Richard III tells the tragic and bloody tale of Richard of Gloucester, a power-hungry villain, who manipulates his way to the crown. In the first half of the play Richard, despite his deformed appearance, woos Lady Anne, and despite his outward sincerity, murders his brother. After he becomes king, the second half of the play is marked by the continuation of his killing spree, until his conscience weakens him and Richard meets his death in battle.

In the following paper, I will be analysing Richard III in relation to the character Richard of Gloucester. In order to do this it is important that I touch upon the relationship that exists between psychoanalysis and Shakespeare. In the first chapter I will give an overview of Freud and Lacan’s interpretation of Hamlet, along with a brief summary of other psychoanalysts’ attempts to interpret the works of Shakespeare. I will discuss what Freud has to say about the character in question, Richard of Gloucester, and Freud’s 1916 paper ‘Some Character-Types met in Psycho-analytic Work.’  I bring this chapter to an end with an overview on Shakespearean language and the necessity that it be understood in order to decipher Shakespearean text.

In Chapter two I will begin by comparing Richard to a psychopath, as he is so often portrayed. On relinquishing this comparison I will set about placing Richard within the Lacanian structure of neurosis. In order to do this I will refer to the role of desire and language in the character of Richard; thus disputing the possibility of a perverse or psychotic structure.

In the third chapter I shall propose the hypothesis that Richard has regressed to the Lacanian Mirror Stage. In discussing this I will be referring to concepts of aggressivity, narcissism and identification. Further to this will be a discussion on the relevance of the Imaginary for Richard. I will also refer to the role that the female characters play in Richard’s re-living of the Mirror Stage. In bringing Chapter three to a close I will communicate in detail the point in which Richard faces his mirror image; where he makes the realisation: ‘I am I.’

In my conclusion I will be discussing the theoretical and clinical implications for a study such as this. I hope to succeed in expanding the psychoanalysis of Shakespeare beyond Hamlet and the Oedipus complex and mark a return to earlier works and earlier theories by focusing on one of Shakespeare’s very early plays and one of Lacan’s earliest, and most defining, theories. Clinically, I hope to highlight the effect of deformities on the formation of the individual as ‘I’ and the effect of the Mirror Stage in later life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One: Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare

           

‘Though conclusive evidence is hard to come by, it is difficult to read Shakespeare without feeling that he was almost certainly familiar with the writing of Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Wittgenstein and Derrida.’[23] But as we clearly know, Shakespeare was indeed the predecessor to all these great minds. Whether it is his exceptional skill with language, his insight into the human condition, or his pure talent for entangling humour and tragedy, Shakespeare’s genius and influence spread far and wide. It appears to be, however, particularly prevalent in psychoanalytic theory from its very beginnings. It can be said that Freud’s concept of the Oedipus complex found some roots in Shakespeare’s most popular work: Hamlet. In a letter to Fleiss, in October 1897, he argued that in the play of Hamlet, Shakespeare’s ‘unconscious understood the unconscious of his hero’ in this way.[24]  Often considered Shakespeare’s greatest work, Hamlet has attracted many psychoanalytic readings; be it due to its Oedipal theme, the Lacanian spin on desire, or the many other interpretations, which have led to two of the main characters being considered icons for male and female mental instability.[25]

Ophelia has become ‘a potent and obsessive figure in our cultural mythology’[26] with her iconic representation appearing in many aspects of modern-day culture. It has been suggested that the powerful effect her character produces is because it forces us to recognise the connection between female sexuality and female insanity.[27] The fact that women’s bodies were linked to their madness along with their erotic desires was strongly underlined in Freud’s time and helped to give birth to psychoanalysis. Hysteria is stereotyped as a female condition, with the word ‘Hystera’ being Greek for ‘womb.’ In King Lear, the king uses the term ‘Hysterica Passio’ to explain his feelings of giddiness and suffocation. Elizabethans, however, commonly knew this term, as ‘the mother.’ Lear’s madness is characterised as feminine.[28]

Garber proposes that the interpretation of Shakespeare’s works can be equated with the transference relationship in psychoanalytic practice.[29] ‘The transferential relationship Freud describes as existing between analyst and the patient is...precisely the kind of relation that exists between “Shakespeare” and western culture...“Shakespeare” is the love object of literary studies...The Ghost is Shakespeare.’[30]

 

 

Hamlet          

 

References to Shakespeare’s works can be found throughout Freud’s texts. Freud’s reading of Hamlet has become the general interpretation people in Western Europe and North America witness on stage today. It is one that primarily focuses on the domestic events rather than the political agenda. Psychoanalytic readings of Hamlet have been especially influential in the UK and USA.[31] In Janet Adelman’s Suffocating Mothers,[32] the politics, which runs throughout the play is cut and, instead, the focus is on the domestic issues occurring within the play. Adelman states that Julius Caesar and the Henry IV plays are ‘Oedipal dramas from which the chief object of contention (i.e. the mother) has been removed,’ so that the focus can lie on the father-son relationship. ‘Before Hamlet this relationship tends to be enacted in the political rather than the domestic sphere.’[33] According to Garber, in her book Shakespeare’s Ghost Writers: Literature as Uncanny Causality, ‘Shakespeare instates the uncanny as sharply as he does the Oedipus complex.’[34] Freud’s notion of ‘the uncanny’ is adduced from a ‘repetition of the same thing.’[35] It is a conscious peek at our own ‘id,’ at repressed impulses. Garber points out: ‘what, indeed, is revenge but the dramatisation and acculturation of the repetition compulsion?’[36] Freud theorised that by killing Hamlet’s father and marrying Hamlet’s mother, Claudius had fulfilled Hamlet’s own unconscious wish.[37] This made it, in a way, impossible for Hamlet to revenge his father’s death by killing Claudius without causing damage to his own self.[38]

Following from Freud, Lacan too, has his own interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Lacan steered away from the Oedipus connection, however, and made his own route. In his paper Desire and the Interpretation of Desire in Hamlet[39] Lacan claims the purpose of his paper is ‘to show the tragedy of desire, that is, such as we are concerned with in psychoanalysis.’ Lacan refers to his theories on ‘object-cause-of-desire,’ mourning, and the Mirror Stage when discussing this play. Lacan sees the play of Hamlet as a drama of a man who has ‘lost the way of his desire.’ Lacan postulates that Hamlet has lost the way of his own desire and become caught up in the desire of his mother due to the death of his father. The ‘dependence of his desire on the Other subject forms the permanent dimension of Hamlet’s drama.’ Hamlet can only reintegrate this object through mourning and death. Lacan, also, relates his theory of the Mirror Stage to Hamlet through the character of Laertes. Laertes is Hamlet’s double (his semblable). ‘I take him to be a soul of great article, and his infusion of such death and rareness as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirror, and who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.’[40] As with Lacan’s explanation of the mirror stage, Shakespeare, too, recognises an emergence of aggressivity resulting from a mirror relationship. ‘The one you fight is the one you admire the most.’[41]

 

Richard III

 

There has been less said about Shakespeare’s play in question, Richard III. However, it has not escaped discussion entirely. In his 1916 paper Some Character-Types Met with in Psycho-Analytic Work,[42] Freud places the character of Richard in the section he refers to as ‘the exceptions.’ His basic belief was that Richard has remained in the realm of the pleasure principle and has failed to move forward into the realm of the reality principle. Freud claims Richard’s villainous ambition is a consequence of his childhood deformity. ‘I will take this opportunity of pointing to a figure created by the greatest of poets – a figure in whose character the claim to be an exception is closely bound up with and is motivated by the circumstances of congenital disadvantage.’[43] Freud says that even though Richard claims to have become a villain due to boredom, we, as an audience, believe it spans from something deeper and it is this belief that gains access to our sympathies for him. ‘Richard is an enormous magnification of something we find in ourselves as well. We all think we have reason to reproach nature and our destiny for congenital and infantile disadvantages; we all demand reparation for early wounds to our narcissism, our self-love.’[44]

Freud puts forward the argument that Shakespeare wrote this character in such a way that leaves things open for interpretation, and by doing this, allowed us to do what we do best as an audience: find something to which we identify. ‘It is, however, the subtle economy of art in the poet that he does not permit his hero to give open and complete expression to all his secret motives. By this means he obliges us to supplement them; he engages our intellectual activity, diverts it from critical reflection and keeps us firmly identified with his hero.’[45] Several psychoanalytic theorists have commented of Freud’s analysis of Richard and related his personality flaws to his deformities.[46]

 

 

Other Analysts, Other Works         

 

Many early feminist writers took a psychoanalytical approach to interpreting Shakespeare, which encompassed gender roles and sexuality.[47] More recently, ‘Lacanian psychoanalysis has inspired fresh looks at the Shakespearean corpus that focus closely on language (see, e.g., Enterline 1995; Lupton and Reinhard 1993).’[48]

Many other psychoanalysts have referred to Shakespeare and his works to expand on the Freudian and Lacanian theories of psychoanalysis. Bronson Feldmen[49] discusses Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors with reference to Freudian theories on fantasies sprung from infancy and melancholic depression. Psychoanalysts have written at length on Freud’s analysis of Macbeth, each attaching a further analysis of their own.[50]  Goldstein[51] uses Lacanian theory to discuss the issue of identity crisis in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sokol[52] applies the Lacanian signifier and the topic of fetishes to The Merchant of Venice by using Lacan’s discussion on Poe’s The Purloined Letter. In the paper Infantile Fantasies in Shakespearean Metaphor: 1. The Fear of Being Smothered,[53] Rothenberg references several Shakespearean works, such as, Venus and Adonis, Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, and others, whilst discussing the fear of being smothered and eaten by the pre-Oedipal mother. Some psychoanalysts have undertaken a wide analysis of both Shakespeare and his works.[54] Psychoanalysts have also referred to Shakespearean literature and characters to support clinical vignettes of their own clients, such as, Seidenberg’s comparison of his client to Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.[55]

 

 

Language         

 

What is it that draws us, as psychoanalysts, to Shakespeare? Of course, one might say it is the primal themes which emanate, already outlined above via Freud and Lacan (i.e. Oedipus complex, desire, and mourning) but I hypothesis it runs much deeper. It can be sourced in the main interest shared by all three of these great men: language. Language is central to Freudian theory (see The Interpretation of Dreams, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, and Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious), and Lacan, forever the Freudian, continued this momentum in his form of psychoanalytic theory (see The Rome Discourse). However, it must be stipulated that when it comes to an interest in language, Shakespeare trumps them all.

[Language fabric] is specifically to do with honouring the meaning to the full;…how thought patterns are built up, not only through the emotive words and strong images, but also through the connections of the words which surround them; and how we cannot afford to take any word for granted, for everything contributes to the texture of the thought and is part of the whole fabric, through which we find the patterns and ladders in the writing.[56]

There are several ways in which Shakespeare took language to be his own personal tool, used to reshape and manipulate. As with psychoanalysis, he knew only too well that what was heard was just as important as what was said. The following are some ways in which Shakespeare used language that will be of importance when it comes to analysing the play of Richard III in subsequent chapters, and indeed, in the analysis of any Shakespearean text.

In the time in which Shakespeare was writing texts were made up of verse and prose. A verse represented the everyday speech of a character:

            How all occasions do inform against me

            And spur my dull revenge! what is a man,

            If his chief good and market of his time

            Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.[57]

A verse is always represented in the text as a column with a capital letter at the beginning of each line. It is made up of ten beats: te tum te tum te tum te tum te tum. This is what is referred to as ‘iambic pentameter.’ It begins with a light stress and is followed with a heavy stress. This was, as I said, the style of writing at the time. What is interesting about Shakespeare is that he took this style and played around with it. He began to introduce an eleventh beat in the line of a verse to represent times of emotional importance in speech. To the keen, well-practiced ear of audiences accustomed to iambic pentameter, this would have been instantly striking and a cause to take note of what was being said - just as a psychoanalyst takes note of irregularities in speech. We can see an example of this in, probably, the most famous line in Shakespeare: ‘To be or not to be, that is the question.’ The eleventh syllable present is an extra unstressed beat at the end of line (i.e. ‘-tion’) and it changes the whole response to this reflection. Shakespeare has given this sentence a feminine ending. He does this only when it is a statement concerned with powerful emotion.[58] Interestingly, his feminine endings are equated with emotion, and this particular one – ‘to be or not to be...’ - holds the same question which Lacan links to women: to be or not to be the phallus.[59]

Prose, on the other hand, looks similar to a paragraph in a book. In Shakespearean text it is only used in times of high comedy, high seriousness, when a character is explaining something logically, or when a character is feeling self-conscious. We can witness this sudden change from verse to prose when Hamlet is rejecting Ophelia. ‘I would thou be a breeder of sinners.’ Hamlet is feeling self-conscious because Claudius and Polonius, who are hiding, are watching him. Shakespeare gave very little direction within his plays and it is only through viewing how he used and wrote language that actors can interpret how their character is feeling and why.[60]

Another example of his mastery over language is his construction of verse by inserting two (often opposing) images into each line in order to keep the listener interested. This is called an antithesis and is prominent within Shakespearean works. 

            O that this too too solid flesh would melt,

            Thaw and resolve itself into a dew,

            Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d[61] 

Shakespeare’s characters’ most important words are at the end of their lines. Due to the natural occurrence of people to insert most of their attention into the beginning of sentences, Shakespeare wrote in a way that caused an inflection, or lift, to be established at the line-endings so that the audience hears them.[62]

Another interesting point with regards to Shakespeare’s control of language is the way in which he used vowel sounds. The vowels in his speech represent the emotion of the character, whereas the consonants represent informational speech. ‘O that this too too...’ has open vowel sounds meaning the character is emotionally open. Whereas when Hamlet feigns madness his speech is dominated by the sounds of consonants and seems clipped and short. O is a primal sound and many actors find it difficult to use on stage as it causes embarrassment and uneasiness.[63] This is not surprising when we look at it from a psychoanalytic perspective. O is a sound close to the Real. It is the sound made during an orgasm and the sound of made in mourning.

To return briefly to Lacan, we can see the shared importance, for both Lacan and Shakespeare, of the sliding of signifiers and the play upon words. ‘One of Hamlet’s functions is to engage in constant punning, word play, double-entendre – to play on ambiguity.’[64] Lacan places this playfulness in the role of fools within Shakespeare’s works: ‘What they say proceeds basically by way of ambiguity, of metaphor, puns, conceits, mannered speech – those substitutions of signifiers whose essential function I have been stressing. Those substitutions lend Shakespeare’s theatre a style, a colour, that is the basis of its psychological dimension.’[65] This is the ambiguity that is present within Hamlet, for Lacan. He refers to the particular way in which Hamlet feigns madness – appearing to pluck ideas out of the air and giving this speech a maniacal quality. It is all through language. It is through language that everything happens – in which they ‘be.’ ‘It is this playfulness [of language], which is not merely a play of disguises but the play of signifiers in the dimension of meaning, that the very spirit of the play resides.’[66] Shakespeare’s characters speak in order to exist, just as the Lacanian subject must come into language in order to exist. It is striking how similar the discourses of psychoanalysis and Shakespearean interpretation appear. This could be because psychoanalysis is human science. It represents human intuition. We can see a clear example of this in the following quote from Cicely Berry, the voice-director of the Royal Shakespeare Company: ‘Language resonates within us in deep and unexpected ways and I believe that we cannot apprehend the full meaning of a text until we have voiced it aloud: voiced it with an understanding of its meaning but without pre-empting either its emotional or logical truth.’[67]

It is through Hamlet’s advice to the players that Shakespeare offers up his advice for the audience: ‘Speak the speech I pray you.’ Within this speech, we can see Shakespeare instructing actors on how to use his text. His passion for the importance of the spoken word spills through just as much as, or indeed more so, than Freud’s or even Lacan’s ever did. However, it did not begin with Hamlet. Language played a critical role in Shakespeare’s previous works also, namely Richard III.

 

 

Chapter Two: A Question of Structure

 

Richard the Psychopath             

 

Although there is no clinically accepted definition of a psychopath as of yet, psychopaths are generally understood to be individuals with an ‘antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behaviour without empathy or remorse.’[68] Hare states that psychopaths use ‘charisma, manipulation, intimidation, sexual intercourse and violence’ to control others and satisfy their own needs.[69] He states that they are lacking empathy; freely violating social norms without experiencing guilt or remorse.[70] Shakespeare’s ‘Richard of Gloucester’ is portrayed as carrying out the actions of a psychopath.

Richard is no less than brilliant. He manages to kill eleven people without so much as touching them. He has these callous and ruthless deeds carried out on those closest to him because of his ambition to gain access to the crown. Richard wins over person after person with his charm whilst riding a tide of blood and pathological lies. His use of language is engaging and clever, and his sense of humour dark yet provoking. As his brother, Clarence, is being led away to the tower, Richard says: ‘That you should be new Christ’ned in the tower,’ knowing well of his intentions to have Clarence drowned and killed there.

Richard has been referred to as Shakespeare’s most evil character.[71] He has been called the ‘monster of evil,’ the ‘virtual devil incarnate.’[72] Even within the play, Queen Margaret, who sees through him, characterises Richard as an ‘elvish-marked abortive, rooting hog.’[73] According to Oestreich-Hart[74] Richard has also been described as an ‘intrepid warrior,’ a ‘comic or satirical Vice,’ a ‘diabolic Machiavel,’ a ‘heartless villain of Senecan melodrama,’ and a ‘spurned child.’ But does all this indicate that he is a psychopath? By looking at his cruel acts it may seem so, but let me present one very important detail: towards the end of the play, Richard shows signs of remorse and fear. These are two fundamental characteristics never found in a true psychopath.

Many characteristics reflective of a psychopath can be found in Richard’s character. The Psychopathy Check List – Revised (PCL-R)[75] is a tool used to diagnose psychopathy in individuals. A score of 30 or above is enough to qualify an individual as psychopathic. However, many non-psychopathic criminals score around 22 on this scale. This is the region in which the character of Richard belongs. He does show traits of aggressive narcissism, such as superficial charm, pathological lying, manipulative and callous behaviour, and a failure to accept responsibility for his actions: ‘I do the wrong...And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.’[76] He also expresses traits of a socially deviant lifestyle, such as a need for stimulation, poor behavioural control, irresponsibility, and many short-term marital relationships: ‘I'll have her; - but I will not keep her long.’[77] All these traits, however, scored at varying degrees of intensity, do not make Richard qualify as a psychopath. Richard’s moment of remorse occurs in Act V when he is visited in a dream by all of those whom he had murdered. He wakes in a panic, terrified and unsure of himself and utters a moving soliloquy.[78]

So it must be concluded that Richard, although acting in a psychopathic way is not a true psychopath. The character of Richard created his own character, a psychopathic one, but this character cannot coincide for long within Richard, as his true self will not allow it. His true self is capable of guilt, remorse and fear. These traits eventually surface, causing his downfall.

 

 

Remorse                   

                          

According to Greenblatt:[79]

Shakespeare is following his chronicle source, which states that Richard could not sleep on the eve of his death, because he felt unwonted pricks of conscience. But though it has a staccato vigor, the soliloquy, as a way of sketching over inner conflict, is schematic and mechanical as if within the character onstage there was simply another tiny stage on which puppets were performing a Punch-and-Judy show.

I disagree with Greenblatt’s interpretation of this scene and propose almost the opposite. It is up until this point that Richard has been playing a character, but here, in this scene, his true self is revealed – to us and to himself. The panic evident by the ‘staccato vigor’ and the use of feminine endings make it, not ‘schematic and mechanical,’ but raw and emotional.

To refer back to Shakespeare’s use of language in the previous chapter it is important to re-emphasise that Shakespeare only introduces an eleventh syllable/beat into a line of verse when it is emotionally relevant. In this particular soliloquy we can count nine feminine endings. This is quite a large number for any character, especially one who has been portrayed as a stoic psychopath. The lines in which we find these feminine endings are quite revealing in terms of the topic of guilt and remorse. ‘O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!’ In this line we see that vowel sounds are prominent, meaning that the character is being emotionally open. It also has a feminine ending, deeming it to be wrought with true emotion. This sentence comes directly after Richard realises that he has been dreaming. His defenses are down. This dream, this unconscious mechanism, has loosened the grip he holds on his villainous character. He suddenly realises that he is a murderer. ‘Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am.’ Richard begins to question whether it is he or the character he has been playing who has become such a fiend.

Richard’s final feminine line-ending occurs within: ‘Methought the souls of all that I had murdered.’ Here, he speaks of murder for the first time with emotion. He realises that he is no longer playing a part and those whom he has murdered are not players on a stage. Richard is experiencing remorse in this scene. He refers to the murders as ‘hateful deeds committed by myself!’ He says that his conscience has a ‘thousand several tongues’ with each bringing with it several tales ‘And every tale condemns me for a villain.’ He knows what he has done is wrong and is feeling guilty as a result. ‘Throng to the bar, crying all, Guilty! Guilty!’ He predicts his punishment is coming in ‘To-morrow’s vengeance on the head of Richard.’

According to Blum,[80] Shakespeare has written the emotion of guilt into Richard’s character so that it is both latent and manifest. Freud proposes that Richard’s apparent lack of guilt is actually due to an unconscious guilt he possesses. His failure to accept the reality principle allows him to carry out vicious acts without apparent empathy. This unconscious guilt is rooted in the guilt he feels as a result of his deformity and is overwritten with a sense of entitlement.

 

 

Richard the Neurotic          

 

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:[81]

I always felt that this quote belonged, not in As You Like It, but in Richard III,as itencapsulates exactly what Richard appears to believe. Theorists and critics have cast Richard as a villain and a psychopath. Yet we fail, as spectators, to feel the deep sense of loathing towards his character, which usually accompanies figures so described. Could this be, as Freud believes, due to the sympathy drawn up within us at the sight of Richard’s deformities? Or could it, on the other hand, be due to the fantastical form in which we witness the atrocities? It is all just an act, a play within a play. Richard, being the only person to be aware of this play, situates himself as the puppeteer. He makes us, the audience, co-conspirators by divulging to us, and us alone, his wicked plan.

‘Fantasy provides the pleasure peculiar to desire.’[1]

Fantasy and desire are intertwined for the neurotic. I believe that Richard, in Shakespeare’s rendering of the historical figure, is neurotic and not psychotic, perverse or a psychopath, as has been theorised.[82] ‘To act directly and effectively is, indeed, one of the hardest things for a neurotic to do.’[83] In this play, although behind all eleven murders, Richard never actually lifts a finger to carry out the deed. Richard never directly acts, except for in battle – where rules of murder are one step removed. ‘If the object in which the libido can find its satisfaction is withheld in reality, this is an external frustration. In itself it is inoperative, not pathogenic, until an internal frustration is joined to it.’[84] Richard, in Act I, Scene i, decides to become the bad guy. We have no idea how serious he is when he makes this claim to the audience as it occurs in the very first Act. In order to become a ‘villain’ and not a common thug Richard needs to set particular goals. As it happens, Richard chooses seemingly ludicrous goals, which appear nearly impossible to meet. In this same soliloquy he tells us that his main reason for becoming a villain is because all of his comrades are enjoying the women and women will not even look at him.[85]  But yet, his first goal is to woo a woman, a woman who has every right to hate him. After the success of this encounter Richard appears somewhat in shock, even appalled.

Was ever woman in this humor wooed? 

Was ever woman in this humor won?

Here, Richard’s external frustration is fused with his internal one. His fantasy has become a potential reality. Freud says that internal frustration ‘must proceed from the ego, and must dispute the access by the libido to other objects, which it now seeks to get hold of. Only then does a conflict arise, and the possibility of a neurotic illness, i.e. of a substitutive satisfaction reached circuitously by way of the repressed unconscious.’[86]

 

 

Desire                                                                          

 

‘Desire is always what is inscribed as a repercussion of the articulation of language at the level of the Other.’[87] We find evidence of Richard’s neurosis in the very first monologue: ‘I am determined to prove a villain.’ Richard is admitting here that he is not naturally a villain. He is speaking of his desire. He desires the role of a villain because he is unable to join in with the joyful copulations, which consume the time of others. He has made a conscious decision to create for himself a character to play to provide some entertainment whilst the country is at peace. Richard sets in motion a chain of desires, which he wishes to meet, but which never truly satisfy. After all, ‘Satisfaction...kills desire’[88] in the neurotic. Richard pursues Lady Anne, a woman who has more right than anyone to hate him at this point in the play, as he has just murdered her husband and father-in-law in battle. ‘The obsessive desires something that is unattainable, the realisation of his...desire thus being structurally impossible.’[89] Lady Anne should have been impossible to woo. Richard mocks her acceptance of his efforts to woo her.[90] The very moment he succeeds, however, he is done with her: ‘I’ll have her; but I will not keep her long.’[91]

Richard has moved on to desiring his next object – the crown. Again, this should seem impossible to attain as he is fourth in line to rightfully become the king. So he kills his brother, awaits the death of his other sickly brother, deems the two young princes illegitimate and claims the prize. All are just obstacles. ‘In both hysteria and obsession, obstacles are placed in the way of any possible realisation of desire.’[92] Finally Richard is king. But he is still not experiencing the satisfaction he expected to have attained from such a feat. He goes one step further and kills off the two princes, in hope of unleashing the regal feeling he is awaiting. But his desire is no longer here. It is not within the object and, therefore, cannot be satisfied by gaining access to this object. ‘Human desire, strictly speaking, has no object.’[93] So where to from here for Richard?

Before we proceed through Richard’s later actions it is important to make a note on his unconscious desire, or the cause of his desire. ‘Man’s desire is to be desired by the Other,’ and in Richard’s case, the first Other: the mOther. Richard never truly experienced his mother’s desire in childhood,[94] and as a result, I theorise that he is unconsciously attempting to experience it at this stage in his life. The mOther’s desire remained with the father when Richard was born. The mother took no interest in his premature, deformed self. Richard has regressed to an Oedipal situation, wherein he is attempting to take the place of his father, the king, in order to experience the desire of his mother. Richard’s true desire – to be the cause of desire for the mOther, to be the desired king – fails. His mother publicly curses him, proving to him that he is not the cause of her desire. Not fully out of options yet, Richard turns to another mother, Queen Elizabeth, and attempts to seduce her into wooing her daughter on his behalf. His eloquent skill with language has weakened and we fail to witness the same impassioned display with which he wooed Lady Anne. In the final act we see him reject the crown as he has since realised that he has achieved his true desire: to become a villain. ‘I am a villain.’[95] He gives up the facade of being the king. ‘My kingdom for a horse.’[96] Richard only ever felt an equal, a true being, when in battle and this is where he runs to now. He unmasks the villainous character he has created and returns to his true self, where he meets the end of his desire in death.

 

A Note on Perversion           

 

‘Desire is a defense, a defense against going beyond a limit in jouissance.’ The pervert refuses to give up his pleasure when faced with the Other. Perversion is a result of a partial failure of the paternal metaphor and attempts to make the Other pronounce the law. It could be speculated that Richard is similar to a perverse subject in that he recognises the law but chooses to exclude himself from it. He splits himself from reality and remains in the pleasure principle. The pervert puts himself in the position of the object to fill the lack in the Other. Richard tries to become king to fill the king-shaped hole in his mOther’s desire. However, the difference between Richard-the-pervert and Richard-the-neurotic lies here. The perverse subject never completes his journey into the symbolic. He wishes to remain as his mOther’s object, someone she dotes on and adores, rather than someone of whose name she can be proud. Richard’s name is very important to him. He uses the name he shares with his father and the deceased to woo Lady Anne: ‘Plantagenet.’ He uses his name as a source of identity. ‘Richard loves Richard.’ It is when his mother curses his name that he begins his downward spiral. The line is pretty fine in making this diagnosis of neurosis over perversion and I think one of the reasons for this is the creation of a psychopathic character by Richard. There is no official Lacanian structure for what is deemed as psychopathy. My research has led me to position the psychopath in close relation to the structure of perversion. Richard’s true self is driven not by the object but by desire. ‘Desire is a product of language and cannot be satisfied with an object. The naming of the mOther’s desire forces the child out of his position as object and propels him into the quest for the elusive key to her desire.’[97]

 

 

 

 

Language

 

Another area that provides evidence of Richard’s neurosis is his use of language. ‘The neurotic symptom plays the role of the language [langue] in which repression can be expressed.’[98] Richard’s deformed body is a representation of how his mother viewed his premature form at birth. Lacan says that ‘the medium symptoms adopt is a body written with language, a body overwritten with signifiers.’[99] Richard creates a character who, as he accomplishes his goals, overwrites his deformed features with signifiers he has created for his character, allowing his deformities to be dressed in such a way that they no longer cause him to look withered and disabled, but instead, regal and powerful. ‘To study fashions to adorn my body.’[100] It is only after he sheds this character in Act V that he is faced with his original form (‘bind up my wounds’)[101] and his true signifiers.

In order to be recognised desire must be spoken. ‘It is only once it is formulated, named in the presence of the other, that desire, whatever it is, is recognised in the full sense of the term.’[102] Richard uses the audience to articulate his conscious desires. But as Fink points out, ‘there is a limit to how far desire can be articulated in speech because of a fundamental incompatibility between desire and speech.’[103] We can see evidence of this in Richard whose speech begins to fail, as he gets closer to this desire.

The character of Richard is known for his exceptional wit and skill over language. He uses it as a tool throughout the play. It is through language that he plants all his seeds and achieves all his goals. Richard plays the part of someone who is non-rhetorical. He fools those closest to him with his ‘sincere’ words. Even though he has planted the letter G[104] as a name to be feared by the king, leading to Clarence’s imprisonment, Clarence still defends his honour by refusing to believe his murderers were sent by Richard: ‘O, do not slander him, for he is kind.’[105] He also fools his good friend, Hastings who says of Richard:

…there’s never a man in Christendom

Can lesser hide his love or hate than he

For by his face straight shall you know his heart.[106]

Richard’s rhetorical skills, however, are at their most ingenious when wooing Lady Anne. He wins her over with the greatest of ease, using only his words. This scene takes place at the beginning of the play when Richard’s desire is bursting at the seams. When we look at the wooing scene between Richard and Lady Anne, we can note some interesting occurrences in the text. Lady Anne and Richard appear to be locked in a duelling of tongues.[107] They share each other’s language throughout.[108] They finish each other’s lines in places and are constantly using the other’s metaphor in retort.[109] This engages the listener as it is playful and can be interpreted as a flirtatious exchange rather than a spiteful row. A later attempt to woo Queen Elizabeth for her daughter’s hand in marriage is a less successful affair. ‘These two speeches mark the poles of Richard’s height and decline, and the poles are marked by successful or unsuccessful rhetoric.’[110] It is this use of language by his mother against him that sets in motion his gradual downfall. ‘The most telling sign of disorder is the collapse of language, the failure of Richard’s rhetorical strategies.’[111]

We find further evidence of the flirtatious nature of this encounter when we compare it to scenes from Shakespeare’s later plays. In Romeo and Juliet we can see similar traits within the wooing scene. Romeo and Juliet share an extended metaphor; their line endings rhyme with each other and they play and flirt with each other’s language.[112] In a less romantic, but just as tragic play, we find another example of lovers sharing lines. In Macbeth, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are so in rhythm with each other that they don’t miss a beat.[113]

LADY MACBETH

I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.

Did not you speak?

MACBETH

                               When?

LADY MACBETH

                                           Now.

MACBETH

                                                     As I descended?

Interestingly, later in this play, as the characters fall out of love, they converse less and less.

 

 

A Note on Psychosis

 

Lacan says that the neurotic inhabits language, whereas the psychotic is inhabited by language.[114] According to Lacan, the structure of psychosis is defined by foreclosure. Foreclosure is the failure to integrate the paternal metaphor, thus closing off an avenue into the symbolic realm for the subject. As a result, the use of language by the psychotic subject is very different to that of the neurotic; their speech is often characterised by holophrases and neologisms. The psychotic cannot invent new metaphors and cannot play with language in the way that the neurotic has the potential to do. ‘While Schreber is certainly a writer, he is no great poet. He does not introduce us to a new dimension of experience.’[115]

It can be concluded that under a question of Lacanian structure Richard is a neurotic playing the part of a psychopath. The reason for this division is further discussed in the following chapter.

Chapter Three: ‘I am I’: A Regression to the Mirror Stage

 

In this chapter, I theorise that Richard has regressed to the Lacanian Mirror Stage in order to bring about a more pleasing resolution. There is little doubt that Richard’s original Mirror Stage was marked by disgust and rejection from his mother. Richard returns to this point in his psychical development so as to access the loving admiration in his mother’s gaze that he was so cruelly deprived of in infancy.

 

Mirror Stage

 

The Mirror Stage is a drama whose internal thrust is precipitated from insufficiency to anticipation – and which manufactures for all the subject, caught up in the lure of spatial identification, the succession of phantasies that extends from a fragmented body-image to a form of its totality that I shall call orthopaedic – and, lastly, to the assumption of the armour of an alienating identity, which will mark with its rigid structure the infants entire mental development.[116]

The Lacanian Mirror Stage occurs between the ages of six and eighteen months.[117] The infant recognises himself for the first time in the mirror as a whole being. This recognition is reinforced by the presence of an-other who confirms that the perceived image belongs to the infant. Generally, this experience is met with a sense of joy and jubilation from the child, which is shared, ideally, by the accompanying other. The child recognises the specular image as himself and the ego is born. A sense of rivalry erupts due to the confliction between the perceived whole self and the fragmented sense-of-self experienced by the child. The child overcomes the resulting aggressivity by identifying with the image, therefore placing the ego in the realm of the Imaginary.

            Richard’s regression to the Mirror Stage is triggered by the end of war. Richard has previously identified himself as a soldier due to his skill and equal standing on the battlefield. Now, in this time of peace, with no battles for Richard to thrive upon, he is propelled back to childhood – feeling deformed and unwanted.

And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds

            To fight the souls of fearful adversaries

            He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber

            To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

            But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,

            Nor made to court an amorous looking glass;[118]

It is Richard’s craving for the admiration he received in battle, coupled with his resentment over not being desired as a lover, that lead him to the decision to transform himself into the villain people perceive, thus twisting his mind to be as deformed as his body.

            Lacan situates aggressivity between the ego and the counterpart;[119] occurring due to the perception of a whole body in the mirror coming into contrast with the fragmented feelings the subject experiences within. I hypothesise that Richard’s perception has been inversed. Richard does not perceive a whole image in the mirror. The fluidity and coordination he experiences in battle is met with an uncoordinated deformed body reflected in the eyes of women upon his return. In a twist of theory, Richard’s aggressivity arises upon a conflict but leads him towards an identification with a deformed, fragmented image in order to appease it. His mind is warped with villainous intent and his actions become those of someone who is without a superego.

            Before discussing this identification further, it is worth noting that the concept of narcissism is strongly linked with the concept of aggressivity. Lacan’s concept of narcissism is an erotic and aggressive attraction to the mirror image.[120] At the beginning of the play, Richard rejects his mirror image entirely. He even fears the sight of his image in shadow.

            Unless to see my shadow in the sun

            And descant on mine own deformity.[121]

It is only after his encounter with Lady Anne that he reaches the stage of primary narcissism – a self-love, resulting from the love of others. Anne appears to find him attractive, even desirable:

            I do mistake my person all this while!

            Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,

            Myself to be a marvellous proper man.[122]

He is now keen to face the mirror and delights in his shadow:

            Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,

            That I may see my shadow as I pass.[123]

            Lacan defines identification as ‘the transformation that takes place in the subject when he assumes an image.’[124] He specifies two stages of identification: imaginary and symbolic. Richard is at the level of imaginary identification, which is an identification with something outside the subject (i.e. the image) and ‘structures the subject as rivaling with himself.’[125] Richard, however, takes the process of alienation involved to extremes; essentially splitting off from the villainous character he has created via an identification with the mirror image. He places this character completely in the realm of the Imaginary. Primary identification produces the ideal ego. The goal for the subject is to carry out a symbolic identification, thus leading to the creation of the ego ideal. This occurs from an identification with the father during the Oedipus complex.[126] Richard is at the level of a primary identification but is striving towards a symbolic identification. Freud states that a failure to develop a core identity could lead to an inability in the subject to unite inner and outer worlds.[127] Freud also states that it is possible to identify and introject a single trait from a person: ‘the identification is a partial and extremely limited one and only borrows a single trait from the person who is the object.’[128] Lacan believes this single trait to be a primordial symbolic term which, when introjected, produces the ego ideal.[129] Richard, in his ambition to receive an admiring gaze from his mother, takes a single trait (the crown) from his father (a person whom his mother already desires). Richard strives to be king, wear the crown, and be held up proudly in his mother’s eyes.

 

 

Imaginary            

 

The situating of Richard’s villainous character firmly in the Imaginary provides us with an understanding of his callous attitude towards murder and his apparent lack of remorse. Richard carries out a variety of heinous crimes in his villainous state. He slyly plots against his bothers:

            Plots I have laid, inductions dangerous,

            By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,

            To set my brother Clarence and the king

            In deadly hate, the one against the other.[130]

He gives orders for the murder of his brother and two innocent children without showing a hint of hesitation or guilt. A child in a game of fantasy easily performs these deeds and this is exactly the position Richard holds here. Richard is not taking into account the symbolic relevance of the murders he commits because he is too entrenched in the Imaginary. A barrier exists between the Imaginary and the Symbolic so much so that Richard fails to carry out a single murder with his own hands. He is acting towards his brothers in a way, which is not uncommon among siblings at an early age; it is a game of rivalry; and without the psychical development of a superego, these acts carry no repercussions (at this time).

            Evidence of Richard’s residency in the Imaginary can be found in his preference for dressing up this new character and viewing him in the mirror. It is reminiscent of a child playing ‘dress-up’ or an actor transforming into his character before going on stage.

            I’ll be at charges for a looking-glass

            And I’ll entertain a score or two of tailors

            To study fashions to adorn my body;[131]

When Richard addresses the audience we get the impression he is playing a game. He appears to be giving the audience an update of how well he is doing within this game.

The son of Clarence have I pent up close,

His daughter meanly have I matched in marriage,

The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham’s bosom,

And Anne my wife hath bid this world good night.

Now, for I know the Breton Richmond aims

At young Elizabeth, my brother’s daughter,

And by that knot looks proudly on the crown,

To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.[132]

He is searching for an admiring gaze from the audience too. As his plans begin to fail, however, he turns to the audience less and less as he is coming to realise that his game is in fact reality.

            Richard refers to himself as a ‘jolly striving wooer,’ thus leading us to another characteristic, which locates Richard in the Imaginary. Richard appears to gain libidinal satisfaction from the act of wooing (from using his voice) rather than the sexual encounter itself.[133] We can see a clear example of this in his wooing of Lady Anne.[134] At first, Richard is excited and the pace is quick and witty. Anne responds by matching his speed and wit. They are locked in a rhetorical rhythm, which shows an example of Richard’s skill as a ‘thriving wooer.’ Richard builds upon this rhythm, leading to a reference to Anne’s bedchamber. Anne begins to lose control over her language and falters in her speech, thus revealing to Richard his seduction is working.

LADY ANNE 

I'll rest betide the chamber where thou liest!

GLOUCESTER[135] 

So will it, madam till I lie with you.

LADY ANNE 

I hope so.[136]

Richard knows he has her. She is close to giving him her all; she is on the brink of orgasm, when Richard decides to slow their rhetorical pace and prolong this pleasurable encounter.

I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,

To leave this keen encounter of our wits,

And fall somewhat into a slower method.[137]

Richard begins to talk of death, accusing Anne’s beauty to be the cause of death and, therefore, in keeping with this sexual interpretation, the cause of orgasm. The rhetorical tempo accelerates to the point where Anne spits at Richard’s face. Richard perceives this to be her orgasmic surrender. ‘Never came poison from so sweet a place.’[138] Anne concedes to his seduction uttering ‘Well, well put up your sword.’[139]

 

 

The Role of Women

 

The women in the play – namely Lady Anne, Richard’s mother, and Queen Elizabeth – mark Richard’s progression in his regression to the Mirror Stage. The wooing of Lady Anne served as a warm-up act. It was this success of this seemingly impossible task that gave Richard confidence in his re-living of the Mirror Stage. He realised that it was possible for a woman to desire him. The majority of the rest of the play is spent preparing for the main act: a confrontation with his mother. He plans to stand before her as king, and be met, not with disgust, but with admiration and desire. However, this confrontation is premature and Richard is unprepared. He attempts to negate this confrontation by drowning out her words.

A flourish, trumpets! Strike alarum, drums!

Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women

Rail on the Lord’s anointed. Strike, I say!

Either be patient and entreat me fair,

Or with the clamorous report of war

Thus will I drown exclamation.[140]

His attempt fails, the confrontation is here, and so he asks ‘And came I not at last to comfort you?’ in hope that his new self is pleasing to her. His mother responds by providing Richard with the recognition he has been waiting for – a recognition of his birth, his childhood, and his manhood; but in none of these does she confess to finding an element of pleasure.

No, by the Holy Rood, thou know’st it well:

Thou cam’st on earth to make the earth my hell.

A grievous burden was thy birth to me;

Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy.

Thy school days frightful, desperate, wild and furious;

Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, venturous;

Thy age confirmed proud, subtle, sly and bloody,

More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred.

What comfortable hour canst thou name

That ever graced me with thy company?[141]

She proceeds in her curse by moving from a recognition of his existence to a wish for his extinction, thus ending any hope of redemption for Richard within her eyes. He will never find the loving gaze he craves in her.

Either thou wilt die by God’s just ordinance

Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror,

Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish

And nevermore behold thy face again.

Therefore take with thee my most grievous curse,

Which in the day of battle tire thee more

Than all the complete armour that you wear’st.

My prayers on the adverse party fight,

And there the little souls of Edward’s children

Whisper the spirits of thine enemies

And promise them success and victory.

Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end.

Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.[142]

Upon his mother’s exit he turns promptly to another mother, Queen Elizabeth, and requests that she woo her daughter on his behalf. Richard’s wooing skills have weakened because his control of language has been taken away, and used against him, by his mother. Queen Elizabeth is not easily won and mocks Richard; reminding him of his ghastly deeds.[143] In the end, Richard offers her all he has to bargain with (now that he has lost his ability to use language to meet his means), a connection to the crown. Queen Elizabeth is not fooled but pretends to consider his offer. Richard, knowing that she has not been wooed, reacts bitterly upon her exit: ‘relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman.’[144] He experiences no sense of jubilation. After the rejection from his mother, Queen Elizabeth was Richard’s last chance to redeem a motherly gaze of admiration. On the realisation that he has failed, the gap between the villainous character and his true self begins to close. In Act V, Richard has reached the point of resolving his Mirror Stage but remains hesitant, as it will not be the conclusion he had hoped.

 

 

‘I am I’               

                 

On the night before battle Richard is forced out of his identification with his villainous character by a dream. In the dream Richard is visited by the people he murdered, triggering his conscience and causing him to awake in fear: ‘O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!’ He enters into a harrowing soliloquy:[145]

Cold fearful drops stand upon my trembling flesh.

What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by.

Richard loves Richard, That is, I am I.

Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am.

Then fly! What from myself? Great reason why?

Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?

Alack, I love myself. Wherefore? For any good

That I myself have done unto myself?

Oh no. Alas, I rather hate myself,

For hateful deeds committed by myself.

I am a villain. Yet I lie; I am not.[146]

Richard is struggling with the realisation that his true self and the character he has created exist in the same body. He has been held up to the mirror by his mother and forced to see himself, not as divided (self and villain), but as a unified form. He exists as one. Richard is experiencing a rivalry within himself due to this newly perceived unity. In order to exist as subjects, we must be recognised as an-other by an-other. Richard has brought about recognition from his mother. This ripped him out of the Imaginary world he had been playing in and provided him with a guarantor of his existence.  The Mirror Stage marks the first time the child thinks of himself as ‘I’ with regards to the image, which represents him. In this soliloquy, Richard is slowly accepting this as he moves from referring to himself in the third person: ‘Richard loves Richard,’ to accepting himself as ‘I:’ ‘I am I.’ It is he, as ‘I,’ who is the murderer: ‘Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am.’ To return momentarily to Shakespeare’s use of language, it is important to note that Shakespeare, being as loquacious as he was, never used a word in frequent repetition unless there was a very important reason. In these eleven lines of verse, Richard uses the word ‘myself’ nine times. In my opinion, Shakespeare clearly wishes to emphasise that in this scene Richard is struggling with the concept of the self.

            In it worth noting that, within the same soliloquy,[147] Richard appears to be trying to resolve the Oedipus complex as well. He calls on the law (the supreme law) to intervene. He compares his deeds to the work of the devil.[148] He asks for his sins to be judged in a court of law:

            Perjury, perjury, in the highest degree;

            Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree;

Legal references continue as he condemns himself with a guilty verdict at the legal bar: ‘Throng to the bar, crying all “Guilty, guilty!” Richard is calling upon the father (God the father; the law) to catch him, cut him off, to bring about castration. But no one comes. He is left to perform such an act alone.

            Richard is left with nothing. Richard, in the words of Lacan, is ‘…a personality that achieves self-realisation only in suicide; and a consciousness of the other that can only be satisfied by Hegelian murder.’[149] Hegelian murder failed to satisfy Richard. His only chance of changing his state lies in suicide. And so he returns to the only identification he could salvage any identification from, and as a soldier, rides to his death.

            Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,

            And I will stand the hazard of the die.[150]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion: An Exceptional Ending

 

In this paper I have analysed the Shakespearean play Richard III in the theoretical context of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. The introduction provided a summary of the psychoanalytic importance of theatre, especially that which portrays tragedy. Chapter one discussed the relationship between Shakespeare and psychoanalysis to date and introduced some important points on Shakespearean language. Chapter two disputed claims that Richard is psychopathic and put forward an argument for his neurotic structure using the concepts of desire and language. In chapter three I hypothesised that Richard has regressed to the Lacanian Mirror Stage. In his regression he experienced an inverted form of the Mirror Stage by identifying with the fragmented or deformed self, rather than a whole image. In this conclusion, I will discuss the clinical and theoretical implications of my analysis of the character Richard of Gloucester.

‘The spectator is a person who experiences too little…; he longs to feel and to act and to arrange according to his desires – in short, to be a hero. And the playwright and actor enable him to do this by allowing him to identify himself with a hero.’[151] Freud says that watching tragedy induces pleasure. However, it is only neurotics who derive pleasure from watching tragedy on the stage, thus raising the topic of structure once again. Freud looks at this from the aspect of both character and spectator.[152] If the character is psychopathic, the spectator will not connect with him on a humane level and will lose interest in the performance. If the spectator is psychopathic they will be unable to identify with the portrayal of a conflicted hero.[153]

In Richard III the audience identifies with Richard’s reproach toward nature.[154] It is made clear to the audience that Richard feels hard-done-by; an experience shared by most. It is through this identification that the play becomes a Tragedy. The issue of deformity and a reproach towards nature has implications for the modern day clinic. Complaints of body dissatisfaction are often spoken about in the clinic. The majority of people are unhappy with some aspect of their appearance. Very little research, however, has been carried out in relation to those who suffer real physical deformities and the effect this may have on their psyche.

In Winnicott’s case study of ‘liro,’[155] Winnicott played the squiggle game with a nine-year-old boy who was in hospital having surgical procedures to separate his webbed hands and feet. Throughout the game the boy drew a picture of a duck, duck’s feet and an eel. Winnicott came to the conclusion that, although the boy was happy about having the surgeries, it was important that the boy felt loved the way he was born too. To use a term from Dolto:[156] liro’s ‘unconscious image of the body’ needed to feel loved. Richard was never loved at birth. His bitterness over this prevented him from experiencing any love, regardless of appearance, in adult life.

The issue of being loved for what’s on the outside has been overshadowed by the importance of being loved based on what’s inside. At birth, the infant is a demanding being. It cries, feeds, sleeps and excretes. For this reason, babies (including the infant offspring of the animal kingdom) are beautiful to look at; their big eyes, tiny features, soft skin and round faces are designed to make you want to care for them.[157] Their vulnerability and innocence allow us to project our own positive feelings and hopes for the future onto them. These are the things that make the difficult job of caring for an infant possible. What happens, however, when the baby is not beautiful, but instead hideously deformed, and no hopeful wishes for the future are projected onto him? What if, like with Richard, the child’s mother viewed his birth and existence as a burden?

The parent’s reaction to a child’s deformity plays a crucial role. Negative reactions may affect ego development in the child. The child suffers as a result of a lack of interaction, a lack of a loving gaze and a lack of stimulation. A long-term negative reaction from the parent may lead to a serious psychopathology for the child in later life. In cases where the mother is depressed or mentally ill in the child’s early years the child may experience a distorting mirror or no mirror at all. In extreme circumstances this may lead to an absence of an alter ego, a continuation of the fragmented self, and even autism.[158] On a social level, peers may not respond kindly to the individual’s deformities and ridicule and reject them. This can lead to the individual searching out, exclusively, people who suffer similar deformities and further isolating the individual from larger society.[159]

Freud discusses a less severe consequence of congenital deformity.[160] He refers to people who grow up thinking the world owes them something, due to the pain and suffering they have experienced in childhood, as the ‘exceptions.’ The ‘exceptions’ believe that they are entitled to special treatment in life, are above the rules, and live a guilt-free existence (apparently). Clinically it is paramount that we take into account the ‘exceptional’ client’s childhood history, as it is here that such grievances occurred.

Billow equated the sense of entitlement felt by the ‘exceptions’ with the sense of entitlement found in the analytic experience.[161] He notes that analysts, in the past, have labelled insistent and demanding clients as ‘entitled.’ Freud’s branding of Richard, as ‘the embodiment of malignant entitlement’ is similar to the view some patients have of their analyst, i.e. insistent, power-hungry, and spiteful.[162] Billow believes that both analyst and client have their own sense of entitlement, which can, at times, affect the analysis. According to Freud, ‘we all demand reparation for early wounds to our narcissism, our self-love.’[163] In recent years, psychoanalysts have begun to recognise that a sense of entitlement represents a basic human need to feel loved and special[164] and a denial of these basic empathic needs may disturb psychical development.[165] Billow states that the exaggerations or inhibitions of entitlement, which occur in the psychoanalytic setting, can lead to unrealistic attitudes and inappropriate behaviours in both the client and the analyst. If left unrecognised these anxious feelings felt by the analyst could be transformed into fixated ideas of transference, defense, or resistance.[166] According to Billow,[167] one of the important aspects for an entitled client is the attempt to control the other’s thinking. He cites an example from Richard III, where Richard celebrates the seduction of Anne’s mind, whilst having no interest in having her physically. Billow relates this back to the clinic by saying that such a fate – of seduction and abandonment – may be met by the analyst in the hands of an entitled patient.

According to Blum,[168] ‘exceptional’ patients feel that they are above the law and think it is their duty to teach the analyst right from wrong. ‘They have been wronged and thus have the right to beraé (sic), criticise and condemn others for their real and fantasised faults.’ As a result they attempt to solicit apologies, compensations and confessions from the analyst.[169] A true example of someone who believes himself to be above the law is Richard. He believes himself to be so far above the law that moral law does not apply to him and he disregards Oedipal restraints.

For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter.

What though I killed her husband and her father?

The readiest way to make the wench amends

Is to become her husband and her father:[170]

So to conclude, it is worth considering that in cases of deformity, the Mirror Stage may play just as important a role as the Oedipus complex in the development of the psyche. What the child perceives in the mirror is crucial to their ego development. If the fragmented bodily experience is met with a fragmented, deformed mirror image, how will identification proceed? The mother’s gaze and the reflection experienced in her eyes may serve to counteract this perceived fragmentation but there is the very real possibility that a deformed child will not be met with this necessary gaze. Unfortunately Lacan’s brilliant interpretation of the Freudian Oedipus complex eclipsed his prior work on the Mirror Stage, which I deem just as brilliant and equally as important. If the stage of the ideal ego never takes place, how can it be possible to progress to an ego ideal in the Oedipus complex? One of the aims of this study is to reinforce the importance of Lacan’s Mirror Stage. I also hope to have highlighted that there is more to the connection between Shakespeare and psychoanalysis than Hamlet and the Oedipus complex and to have opened the door to a further exploration of Shakespeare’s works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Appendix A: Richard and Lady Anne Wooing Scene

Act 1, Scene ii

 

GLOUCESTER

Lady, you know no rules of charity,

Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.

LADY ANNE

Villain, thou know'st no law of God nor man:

No beastso fierce but knows some touch of pity.

GLOUCESTER

But I know none, and therefore am no beast

LADY ANNE

O wonderful, when devils tell the truth!

GLOUCESTER

More wonderful, when angels are so angry.

Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,

Of these supposed-evils, to give me leave,

By circumstance, but to acquit myself.

LADY ANNE

Vouchsafe, defused infection of a man,

For these known evils, but to give me leave,

By circumstance, to curse thy cursed self.

GLOUCESTER

Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have

Some patient leisure to excuse myself.

LADY ANNE

Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make

No excuse current, but to hang thyself. 

GLOUCESTER

By such despair, I should accuse myself.

LADY ANNE

And, by despairing, shouldst thou stand excused;

For doing worthy vengeance on thyself,

Which didst unworthy slaughter upon others.

GLOUCESTER

Say that I slew them not?

LADY ANNE

Why, then they are not dead:

But dead they are, and devilish slave, by thee.

GLOUCESTER

I did not kill your husband.

LADY ANNE

Why, then he is alive.

GLOUCESTER

Nay, he is dead; and slain by Edward's hand.

 

LADY ANNE

In thy foul throat thou liest: Queen Margaret saw

Thy murderous falchion smoking in his blood;

The which thou once didst bend against her breast,

But that thy brothers beat aside the point.

GLOUCESTER

I was provoked by her slanderous tongue,

which laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.

LADY ANNE

Thou wast provoked by thy bloody mind.     

Which never dreamt on aught but butcheries:

Didst thou not kill this king?

GLOUCESTER

I grant ye.

LADY ANNE

Dost grant me, hedgehog? then, God grant me too  

Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!

O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous!

GLOUCESTER

The fitter for the King of heaven, that hath him.

LADY ANNE

He is in heaven, where thou shalt never come.

GLOUCESTER

Let him thank me, that holp to send him thither;

For he was fitter for that place than earth.

LADY ANNE

And thou unfit for any place but hell.

GLOUCESTER

Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.

LADY ANNE

Some dungeon.

GLOUCESTER

Your bed-chamber.

LADY ANNE

Ill rest betide the chamber where thou liest!

GLOUCESTER

So will it, madam till I lie with you.

LADY ANNE

I hope so.

GLOUCESTER

I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,

To leave this keen encounter of our wits,

And fall somewhat into a slower method,     

Is not the causer of the timeless deaths         

Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,

As blameful as the executioner?

LADY ANNE

Thou art the cause, and most accursed effect.

GLOUCESTER

Your beauty was the cause of that effect;

Your beauty: which did haunt me in my sleep

To undertake the death of all the world,

So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom.

LADY ANNE

If I thought that, I tell thee, homicide,

These nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks.

GLOUCESTER

These eyes could never endure sweet beauty's wreck;

You should not blemish it, if I stood by:

As all the world is cheered by the sun,

So I by that; it is my day, my life.

LADY ANNE

Black night o'ershade thy day, and death thy life!

GLOUCESTER

Curse not thyself, fair creature thou art both.

LADY ANNE

I would I were,to be revenged on thee.

GLOUCESTER

It is a quarrel most unnatural,

To be revenged on him that loveth you.

LADY ANNE

It is a quarrel just and reasonable,

To be revenged on him that slew my husband.

GLOUCESTER

He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband,

Did it to help thee to a better husband.

LADY ANNE

His betterdoth not breathe upon the earth.

GLOUCESTER

He lives that loves thee better than he could.

LADY ANNE

Name him.

GLOUCESTER

                        Plantagenet.

LADY ANNE

                                                Why, that was he.

GLOUCESTER

The selfsame name, but one of better nature.

LADY ANNE

Where is he?

GLOUCESTER

                         Here.

She spits at him

                                    Why dost thou spit at me?

LADY ANNE

Would it were mortal poison, for thy sake!

GLOUCESTER

Never came poison from so sweet a place.

LADY ANNE

Never hung poison on a fouler toad.

Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.

GLOUCESTER

Thine eyes, sweet lady, have infected mine. 

LADY ANNE

Would they were basilisks, to strike thee dead!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix B: Romeo and Juliet Wooing Scene

Act I, Scene v

 

ROMEO

[To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest hand

This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:

My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand

To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

JULIET

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,

Which mannerly devotion shows in this;

For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,

And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.

ROMEO

Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

JULIET

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

ROMEO

O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;

They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

JULIET

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.

ROMEO

Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.

Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

JULIET

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

ROMEO

Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!

Give me my sin again.

JULIET

                        You kiss by the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix C: Richard’s Remorse

Act V, Scene iii

 

Give me another horse! Bind up my wounds!

Have mercy, Jesu!—Soft, I did but dream.

O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!

The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.

Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.

What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by.

Richard loves Richard; that is, I and I.

Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am.

Then fly! What, from myself? Great reason why:

Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?

Alack, I love myself. Wherefore? For any good

That I myself have done unto myself?

O, no! Alas, I rather hate myself

For hateful deeds committed by myself.

I am a villain. Yet I lie. I am not.

Fool, of thyself speak well. Fool, do not flatter.

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,

And every tongue brings in a several tale,

And every tale condemns me for a villain.

Perjury, perjury, in the highest degree;

Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree;

All several sins, all used in each degree,

Throng to the bar, crying all, ‘Guilty! guilty!’

I shall despair. There is no creature loves me,

And if I die no soul will pity me.

And wherefore should they, since that I myself

Find in myself no pity to myself?

Methought the souls of all that I had murdered

Came to my tent, and every one did threat

Tomorrow’s vengeance on the head of Richard.

 

 



[1] H. Bloom, ‘Freud and the Sublime: A Catastrophe Theory of Creativity,’ in Agon: Towards a Theory of Revisionism, (1982), Oxford University Press; in M. Ellmann, Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism, (1994), Longman Group UK Limited, p. 175.

[2] ibid. p. 176.

[3] ibid.

[4] J. Lacan, ‘The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis,’ (1953), in Écrits: a Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan, Tavistock, London, 1977.

[5] L. Trilling, Freud and Literature, (1940); in M. Ellmann, Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism, (1994), Longman Group UK Limited.

[6] W. Shakespeare, The Tempest, Ed. Virginia Mason Vaughan and Alden T. Vaughan, (1999), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act IV, Scene i.

[7] M. Ellmann, Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism, (1994), Longman Group Uk Limited, p. 39.

[8] eine andere Schauplatz.

[9] A. Green, ‘The Psycho-analytic Reading of Tragedy’, Prologue to The Tragic Effect: The Oedipus Complex in Tragedy, trans. Alan Sheridan, (1979), Cambridge University Press; in M. Ellmann, Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism, (1994), Longman Group UK Limited.

[10] S. Freud, ‘Totem and Taboo,’ (1913), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. XIII (1913-1914): Totem and Taboo and Other Works, Ed. J. Strachey, Vintage, London, 2001, p. 185.

[11] A. Green, ‘The Psycho-analytic Reading of Tragedy’, Prologue to The Tragic Effect: The Oedipus Complex in Tragedy, trans. Alan Sheridan, (1979), Cambridge University Press; in M. Ellmann, Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism, (1994), Longman Group Uk Limited, p. 41.

[12] W. Hampton, A Mental Autopsy on the Shakespearean Corpus, New York Times,Published: April 26, 1988. Sourced: http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/26/arts/a-mental-autopsy-on-the-shakespearean-corpus.html?src=pm on 12th July 2011.

[13]Interview with Harold Bloom, The Paris Review, (1991), Spring. Sourced: http://www.mrbauld.com/bloomshk.html on 12th July 2011.

[14]ibid.

[15] W. Shakespeare, Macbeth, Ed. Kenneth Muir, (1997), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act V, Scene iii.

[16] N. N. Holland, ‘Freud and Shakespeare,’ PMLA, (1960), Vol. 75, no. 3, June, Modern Language Association.

[17]ibid.

[18] A. Green, ‘The Psycho-analytic Reading of Tragedy’, Prologue to The Tragic Effect: The Oedipus Complex in Tragedy, Trans. Alan Sheridan, (1979), Cambridge University Press; in M. Ellmann, Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism, (1994), Longman Group UK Limited.

[19] A. C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy, (1957), St. Martin’s Press, p. 3.

[20] ibid. p. 1.

[21]ibid. p. 8.

[22]ibid. p. 13.

[23] T. Eagleton, William Shakespeare, (1986), Oxford, ix-x.

[24] S. Freud, The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, (1887-1904), Ed. J.M. Masson, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, (1985).

[25] A. Thompson and N. Taylor, Hamlet, (2006), The Arden Shakespeare, London.

[26] E. Showalter, Representing Ophelia: women, madness, and the responsibilities of feminist criticism’, in Patricia Parker and Geoffrey Hartman (eds), Shakespeare and the Question of Theory (New York, 1985) p. 78.

[27] A. Thompson and N. Taylor, Hamlet, (2006), The Arden Shakespeare, London.

[28] M. S. Shearer, The Cry of Birth: King Lear’s Hysterico Passio, University of South Carolina, cited http://www2.unca.edu/postscript/postscript1a/ps1.9.pdf on 16th of June 2011.

[29] M. Garber, Shakespeare’s Ghost Writers: Literature as Uncanny Causality, (1987).

[30]Ibid. p. xiv, p. 176.

[31] A. Thompson and N. Taylor, Hamlet, (2006), The Arden Shakespeare, London.

[32] J. Adelman, Suffocating Mothers: Fantasies of Maternal Origin in Shakespeare’s Plays, ‘Hamlet’ to ‘The Tempest’ (1992).

[33]Ibid. p. 11.

[34]ibid. p. 127.

[35] S. Freud, ‘The Uncanny’, (1919), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XVII (1917-1919): An Infantile Neurosis and Other Works, 217-256.

[36] M. Garber, Shakespeare’s Ghost Writers: Literature as Uncanny Causality, (1987), p. 129.

[37] S. Homer, Jacques Lacan, (2005), Routledge.

[38] A. Thompson and N. Taylor, Hamlet, (2006), The Arden Shakespeare, London.

[39] J. Lacan, ‘Desire and Interpretation of Desire in Hamlet’ from Seminar VI — Desire and Its Interpretation, transl. by J. Hulbert in Yale French Studies 55/56, 1977, pp.11-52.

[40] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), London, The Arden Shakespeare, Act V, Scene ii.

[41] J. Lacan, Desire and Interpretation of Desire in Hamlet from Seminar VI — Desire and Its Interpretation, transl. by J. Hulbert in Yale French Studies 55/56, 1977, pp.11-52.

[42] S. Freud, ‘Some Character-Types Met with in Psycho-Analytic Work’, (1916), Ed. J. Strachey, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works.

[43]ibid.p. 313.

[44] S. Freud, ‘Some Character-Types Met with in Psycho-Analytic Work’, (1916), Ed. J. Strachey, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, p.315.

[45]ibid.

[46] H.N. Boris,‘About Time,’ (1994), Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 30:301-322; C. Brenner, ‘Affects and Psychic Conflict,’ (1975), Psychoanalytic Quarterly, pp. 44:5-28.

[47] L.S. Adams, ‘Trauma and Mastery in Life and Art,’ (1998), Psychoanalytic Review, 85:948-952.

[48] Ibid.

[49] A. Bronson Feldman, Shakespeare’s Early Errors, (1955), International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXVI, pp. 114-133.

[50] Z.A. Aarons, ‘Depressive Affect and its Ideational Content: A Case Study of Dissatisfaction,’ (1990), International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:285-296; F. Baudry, ‘An Essay on Method in Applied Psychoanalysis,’ (1984),Psychoanalytic Quarterly, vol. 53, pp. 551-581.

[51] M. Goldstein,‘Identity Crises in a Midsummer Nightmare: Comedy as Terror in Disguise,’ (1973), Psychoanalytic Review, vol. 60, pp. 169-204.

[52] B.J. Sokol,‘Constitutive Signifiers Or Fetishes In Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice?’ (1995), International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, Vol. 76, pp. 373-387.

[54] N. N. Holland, Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare (1966), Imago, 23:283-283; Schwartz and Kahn, Representing Shakespeare: New Psychoanalytic Essays (1980); Sokol, The Undiscover'd Country: New Essays in Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare (1993); Garber, (1987); Adelman, (1992).

[55] R. Seidenberg, For this Woman’s Sake. Notes on the ‘Mother’ Superego with Reflections on Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and Sophocles’ Ajax, (1963), International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XLIV, pp. 74-82.

[56] C. Berry, The Actor and the Text, (1987), Virgin Books, p. 157.

[57] W. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Ed. A. Thompson and N. Taylor, (2006), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act IV, Scene iv.

[58] P. Hall, Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players, (2003), Theatre Communications Group.

[59] J. Lacan, The Family Complexes, (1938), Trans. by Carolyn Asp in Critical Texts, vol.5, issue 3, 1988.

[60] P. Hall, Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players, (2003), Theatre Communications Group.

[61] W. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Ed. A. Thompson and N. Taylor, (2006), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act I, Scene ii.

[62] P. Hall, Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players, (2003), Theatre Communications Group.

[63] C. Berry, The Actor and the Text, (1987), Virgin Books.

[64] J. Lacan, ‘Desire and Interpretation of Desire in Hamlet,’ Seminar VI: Desire and Its Interpretation, Trans. J. Hulbert in Yale French Studies 55/56, 1977, pp.11-52.

[65]Ibid.

[66]ibid.

[67] C. Berry, Text in Action, (2001), Virgin Books, p. 9.

[68] www.answers.com/topic/psychopathSourced 15th of June, 2011.

[69] A. E. Firth, D. C. Cooke, R. D. Hare, Psychopathy: Theory, Research and Implications for Society, (1998), Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

[70] R. D. Hare, ‘Psychopaths: new trends in research, (1995), The Harvard Mental Health Letter, September.

[72] S. Greenblatt, The Norton Shakespeare, (1997), W Norton & Co Inc, p. 507.

[73] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare,London, Act I, Scene iii.

[74] D. J. Oestreich-Hart, ‘Therefore, Since I Cannot Prove a Lover,’ Studies in English

    Literature, 1500-1900. (2000), 40, 2: 241-260.

[75] R. D. Hare, The Psychopathy Checklist, (1985), Unpublished manuscript, University of British Columbia, Vancouver: Canada.

[76] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act I, Scene iii.

[77]ibid. Act I, Scene ii.

[78] See Appendix A.

[79] S. Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, (2004), W. W. Norton & Company.

[80] H. P. Blum, ‘The “Exceptions” Reviewed,’ (2001), Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, vol. 56, pp. 123-136.

[81] W. Shakespeare, As you Like It, Ed. Juliet Dusinberre, (2006), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act II, Scene vii.

[82] S. Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory, (2001), Princeton University Press, p. 167; K. Tynan, ‘In His Talent, Shakespeare Summoned Up,’ (1964), Life Magazine, Time Inc. Vol. 58; R. D. Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us, (1999), Guilford Press, p. 79.  

[83] B. Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique, (1997), Harvard University Press, p. 97.

[84] S. Freud, ‘Some Character-types Met with in Psycho-analytical Work’(1916), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, pp. 309-333.

[85] And that so lamely and unfashionable

     That dogs bark at me as I halt by them—.

[86] S. Freud, ‘Some Character-types Met with in Psycho-analytical Work’ (1916), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, p. 371.

[87] Lacan, My Teaching, (1967), Trans. David Macey, Verso, London, 2008, p. 38.

[88] B. Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique, (1997), Harvard University Press. p. 51.

[89]Ibid.

[90] Was ever woman in this humour woo'd?

     Was ever woman in this humour won?

[91] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act I, Scene ii.

[92] B. Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique, (1997), Harvard University Press. p. 51.

[93]Ibid.

[94] See chapter three.

[95] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act V, Scene iii.

[96] ibid.

[97] B. Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique, (1997), Harvard University Press, p. 178.

[98] ibid. p. 72.

[99] B. Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique, (1997), Harvard University Press, p. 114.

[100] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act I, Scene ii.

[101] ibid. Act V, Scene iii.

[102] J. Lacan, The Seminar, Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, (1953-1954), ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, Trans. J. Forrester, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1988, p. 183.

[103] D. Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, (1996), Routledge. p. 275.

[104] ‘G’ stands for George, Clarence’s middle name.

[105] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act I, Scene iv.

[106] ibid. Act III, Scene iv.

[107] See Appendix A.

[108]Appendix A. Text written in italics.

[109]Appendix A. Text written in bold.

[110] M. Garber, Shakespeare After All, (2004), Pantheon.

[111]Ibid.

[112] See Appendix B.

[113] W. Shakespeare, Macbeth, Ed. Kenneth Muir, (1997), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act II, Scene ii.

[114] J. Lacan, The Seminar, Book III. The Psychoses, 1956, ed. by Jacques-Alain Miller, Trans. by Russell Grigg, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1993, p. 250.

[115] ibid. p. 91.

[116] J. Lacan, ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function’ (1949), in Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, Trans. B. Fink, W. W. Norton & Company, London, 2006, p. 78.

[117]Ibid.

[118] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act I, Scene i.

[119] D. Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Routledge, London, p. 6.

[120]Ibid. p. 120.

[121] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act I, Scene i.

[122]ibid.

[123]ibid.

[124] J. Lacan, ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function’ (1949), in Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, Trans. B. Fink, W. W. Norton & Company, London, 2006, p. 76.

[125] J. Lacan, ‘Aggressiveness in Psychoanalysis,’ (1948), in Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, Trans. B. Fink, W. W. Norton & Company, London, 2006, p. 95.

[126] D. Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Routledge, London, p. 81.

[127] S. Freud, ‘Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego,’ (1921), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XVIII (1920-1922): Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Group Psychology and Other Works, pp. 65-144.

[128]ibid. p. 107.

[129] D. Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Routledge, London, p. 81.

[130] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act I, Scene i.

[131] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act I, Scene ii.

[132]ibid. Act III, Scene iv.

[133] He even appears to hint at the fact that he may not be able to maintain an erection long enough to copulate with Anne: ‘I’ll have her; but I will not keep her long.’

[134]Ibid. Act I, Scene ii.

[135]Richard of Gloucester.

[136]ibid.

[137]ibid.

[138]ibid.

[139]ibid.

[140]ibid, Act IV, Scene iv.

[141]ibid.

[142] ibid.

[143] Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,

A pair of bleeding hearts; thereon engrave

‘Edward’ and ‘York.’ Then haply she will weep.

Therefore present to her—as sometime Margaret

Did to thy father, steeped in Rutland’s blood—

A handkerchief, which say to her did drain

The purple sap from her sweet brother’s body,

And bid her wipe her weeping eyes withal.

If this inducement move her not to love,

Send her a letter of thy noble deeds;

Tell her thou mad’st away her uncle Clarence,

Her uncle Rivers, ay, and for her sake

Mad’st quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne (Act IV, Scene iv).

[144] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act IV, Scene iv.

[145] This soliloquy is not addressed to the audience as prior ones hadbeen.

[146] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act V, Scene iii.

[147] See Appendix C.

[148]‘Every tale condemns me for a villain’: ‘Tale’ here refers to the story of his deed but also to the ‘tail’ of the devil.

[149] J. Lacan, ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function’ (1949), in Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, Trans. B. Fink, W. W. Norton & Company, 2006, p. 80.

[150] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act V, Scene iv.

[151] S. Freud, ‘Psychopathic Characters on the Stage,’ (1906), Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume VII: A Case of Hysteria, Three Essays on Sexuality and Other Works, p. 305.

[152] Ibid.

[153] It is the neurotic who is locked in the continuous battle of conflict within, after all.

[154] S. Freud, ‘Some Character-types Met With In Psycho-analytical Work’ (1916), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, p. 309-333.

[155] D. Winnicott, ‘Case 1, “liro”,’ in Therapeutic Conclusions in Child Psychiatry, (1971), Hogarth Press, London.

[156] F. Dolto, L'image inconsciente du corps, (1984), éd du Seuil.

[157] M. L. Glocker, D. D. Langleben, K. Ruparel, J. W. Loughead, R. C. Gur, And N. Sachser, ‘Baby Schema in Infant Faces Induces CutenessPerception and Motivation for Caretaking in Adults,’ (2009), Ethology, March, Vol. 115, Issue 3, pp. 257-263.

[158] L. Bailly, Lacan: A Beginner’s Guide, (2009), Oneworld Publications.

[159]ibid.

[160] S. Freud, ‘Some Character-types Met with in Psycho-analytical Work’ (1916), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, p. 309-333.

[161] R. M. Billow, ‘An Intersubjective Approach to Entitlement,’ (1999), Psychoanalytic Quarterly, vol. 68, pp. 441-461.

[162]ibid.

[163] S. Freud, ‘Some Character-types Met with in Psycho-analytical Work’ (1916), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, p. 315.

[164] R. M. Dorn, ‘Entitlement: Some Developmental Perspectives. In Attitudes of Entitlement: Theoretical and Clinical Issues, (1988), Ed. V.D. Volkan & T. C. Rogers, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, pp. 22-40; G. Kriegman, ‘Entitlement Attitudes: Psychological and Therapeutic Implications,’ (1988), In Attitudes of Entitlement: Theoretical and Clinical Issues, (1988), ed. V.D. Volkan & T. C. Rogers, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, pp. 1-21.

[165] S. Levin, ‘On the Psychoanalysis of Attitudes of Entitlement,’ (1970), Bull. Phil. Assn. Psychoanal., Vol. 20, pp. 1-10.

[166] R. M. Billow, ‘An Intersubjective Approach to Entitlement,’ (1999), Psychoanalytic Quarterly, vol. 68, p. 444.

[167]ibid. p. 445.

[168] H. P. Blum, ‘The “Exceptions” Reviewed,’ (2001), Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, vol. 56, pp. 123-136.

[169]Ibid. p. 127.

[170] W. Shakespeare, Richard III, Ed. James R. Siemon (2009), The Arden Shakespeare, London, Act 1, Scene i.

To cite this article, use this bibliographical entry: Aisling Hearns "'I am I': A Lacanian Analysis of Richard III". PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts. December 15, 2009. Available http://www.psyartjournal.com/article/show/hearns-i_am_i_a_lacanian_analysis_of_richard_ii. November 30, 2011 [or whatever date you accessed the article].
Received: October 1, 2011, Published: November 30, 2011. Copyright © 2011 Aisling Hearns