I was really interested in the conversation that took place between Queen Elizabeth and King Richard in 4.4. From the reading, it is obvious that he had trouble separating any aspect of his life from war, including the pursuit of a wife or the pursuit of “love” (which I am uncomfortable calling it, because he seems to view all his romantic endeavors as a means for advancement and retribution for his previous deeds – it is more practical and more of a bargaining tool for him than it actually is love).
This especially came up for me in lines 273.47-273.49 and line 345-346, where he uses two really telling words to describe his potential union with Elizabeth.
“And lead thy daughter to a conqueror’s bed, to her I will retail my conquest won, and she shall be sole victoress: Caesar’s Caesar.”
“Plead what I will be, not what I have been. Not my deserts, but what I will deserve.”
He has it in his mind that he is a conqueror, which fits him quite well considering all the bloodshed he has caused in order to get where he is. But he views this union with Elizabeth as yet another conquest, just as Lady Anne was–it is one of utility rather than genuine emotion. He also seems to think that he is deserving of anything he wants, and these key words serve to objectify Elizabeth in such a way that she, the person, is not important in the matter of transaction here, but that her personhood is being overtaken by Richard. He wants to convince her that all the killing he has done was “for the love of her,” and convinces the queen that the purpose of this marriage will be to maintain her own daughter’s advancement and position in royalty.
The parallels with the situation that he instigates with Lady Anne are similar–she says yes to his offer for marriage for the sole purpose of maintaining her status as a person of importance; and Queen Elizabeth practically sells her daughter into marriage for the same exact reasons. For me, this is really hard to swallow, especially because in both these instances, the women in question berate him and tell him that they know of all the bad things he has done, yet they still surrender themselves to this horrible homicidal maniac just to maintain their social status quo. It is especially infuriating because Richard doesn’t deny anything when he is called out, but pretty much asks them to forget about it; forget about the fact that all their loved ones are dead on his accord, and “do it for the crown.” So not only is he homicidal, egotistical and a complete maniac, but he is very obviously abusive. Needless to say, I can’t help but be outraged about it.