I've written before on the blog about my efforts, every so often, to read a play by Shakespeare, to pick up, in effect, where my high school education left off. This time, it was Richard III
, my first of Shakespeare's histories. Given my interest in late-medieval and Tudor England, I was bound, I think, to enjoy the play: and enjoy, I did. There's much to like here: tangled royal lineage; a hunch-backed villain, determined to usurp; ghosts of princes past, come to support Henry Tudor in the battle at Bosworth. And more than that: treachery, alliances, and a real sense, I think, of the emotional toll the violence took on the women involved. After all, three generations of queens are united -- and divided -- by the rogue, Richard
. I won't go on too much, but I did want to highlight one of my favorite lines, that one in which Henry VII is cast by Shakespeare as the great unifier, as the savior of a land ravaged by war. He is, in more ways than one, the anointed, the bridge to peace:
"Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster,
The wronged heirs of York do pray for free;
Good angels guard thy battle. Live and flourish!"
To which Shakespeare ends the play: "Amen."