Character Analysis: A Curse's Compensation In Richard III

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Cathy Shen ENG 2D7 Ms. Munro March 27, 2017 A Curse’s Compensation in Richard III In Act 1 Scene 2, lines 1-32 from William Shakespeare’s Richard III, Lady Anne is devastated by the loss of her husband, Prince Edward and her father in law, King Henry. After she asks the halberds to set down the coffin, she laments the deaths of her family members. Her emotions then transition from sorrow to rage. Feeling a deep hatred for the murderer, she casts a curse on him. In return for bringing her the misfortune of losing her family, Anne prays for an ill fortune to fall upon the murderer’s wife and son. It seems that those who suffer the greatest misfortunes done by the hands of their foes, utter the nastiest curses, in hopes of getting compensation…show more content…
She points out that his poor dead body is as cold as a key. Anne’s sympathetic description of the dead king’s corpse shows her sorrow. As she uses the word “[p]oor” (5) to describe his corpse, Anne suggests that Henry does not deserve to be dead. Her praise of the righteous House of Lancaster, and pious King Henry also suggests that her family members were undeserving of such a fate. By using these praises to compliment her Lancasterian family, Anne puts an even greater emphasis on the extent of her loss. She suggests that she did not lose any king, but an honourable and virtuous one. She calls attention to Henry’s holy character once more, when she compares his dead body to “ashes”(6), which may be understood as the remains of a…show more content…
She begins by informing him that she, “poor Anne/Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son”(10), is the speaker. Referring to herself using this title, Anne suggests the reason why she has become “poor Anne” is because she is mourning a slaughtered husband. Consequently, her grief has turned her into a wretched and miserable widow. After alerting his ghost of her presence, Anne informs him that the killer who slaughtered his son, is the same one who ended his life. She wails to King Henry’s ghost, that she “pour[s] the helpless balm of [her] poor eyes” (13), into the wounds that have let out his soul. Anne uses a metaphor to refer to her tears as a “helpless balm”. A balm is also known as a healing ointment. However, as Anne compares her tears to a “helpless balm”, she suggests that the use of a healing ointment is completely in vain. Just like how tears cannot bring back a loss, healing balms are unable to revive the
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