Innately Human

Richard the Third. Callous, cold, calculating, deceitful, yet all-the-more equally pertaining to human nature as any other.

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As a result of unfortunate events, Richard holds a form of resentment against society as a whole; from his own perspective, society is at fault for shaming him for his deformities. Society is what had shaped expectations for each individual, and so society itself is responsible for Richard’s alienated circumstances due to his own physical deformity. However, what Richard lacks physically, he compensates with an unrivaled mastery in manipulation, and it is this strength of his that allows him to project a facade towards those around him, while deceitfully plotting his path to the seat of the throne, a path that would come to be filled with bloodshed. From my own perspective, Haysam Kadri, the actor who played the part of Richard the Third, strongly played to Richard’s deceitful nature, in that he would seemingly suffer a complete change of demeanor where he would reveal his innermost emotions; the presence of other individuals around him would prompt him to project Richard’s facade. By revealing Richard’s deceit through asides, as well as in the use of soliloquies, directed toward the audience in special lighting serves to involve the audience within Richard’s plot, all the while maintaining an eerie nature in Richard’s personality; the audience would know of Richard’s true nature, all the while observing how Richard’s closest companions would foolishly believe his false personality. The audience comes closer to Richard, some even to the point where they would see Richard’s supposed innate nature.

Watching Richard being played by the actor Haysem Kadri, I felt confidence in my own understanding of him, as I only believed him to be the purest of evil imaginable, the type of person who would drown in their own egocentric desires; however, could Richard’s soliloquies toward the audience, be a show of Richard’s manipulation to the audience? From the first moment of the play, Richard appears to be aware of the audience, aware of onlookers watching him; perhaps he aims to create a purely evil persona, which would be revealed as the truth to those who were watching him. In my own opinion, an individual’s character is always complex, in that there may never truly be something that is either “good” or “bad”; these words are simply used to describe a circumstance in relation to an individual’s own perspective. Therefore, one could argue that Richard is not entirely a representation of evil, or even of the word “bad”: moreover, Richard the Third is the result of a series of situations which hold responsibility in shaping Richard’s demeanor. While his heart may have been tainted by such circumstances, in the end, Richard still has a heart. In the end, he is still human.

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 The aspect of the play that prompted the idea of Richard’s humanity to myself, one which had initially completely thrown off my concentration, was the idea of casting Catesby as a woman, played by the actress Brianna Johnston; throughout the course of the novel, I would keenly observe the interactions between Richard (Haysam Kadri) and Catesby (Brianna Johnston), waiting for any hint of malice Richard would hold towards Catesby. I was unsuccessful in this venture. I found Haysam’s body movements, as Richard the Third, to be rather different when he would be alone conversing with Catesby, as they contained a closer form of intimacy, of attachment; neither his cunning smile would not seem feigned, nor would his charm. It was at that moment where my perceptions of Richard would shift; Richard may well be manipulating the audience’s perception of himself, one where the audience would view him as a cold, cunning, charismatic individual who held a strong resolve to become King. Internally, however, he may instead be a shattered individual, one who may want to stand as an equal to those around him, yet his self-perception may deem him physically inferior to those around him. It is within human nature to mask what one would perceive to be “weak”, and perhaps present a domineering attitude towards others around them in order to falsely gain their respect. Catesby, as a woman, may perhaps satisfy Richard’s need for respect in the form of undying loyalty: Catesby is always sided with Richard, doing as he asks, and it is through this sort of intimacy that Richard is able to reveal more of himself to the audience in his interactions with Catesby. For an individual who is involved in shady underground assassinations, one would often expect an individual with a well-defined physical structure, one who would incite fear into the hearts of all who harbour the misfortune to come across such an individual; however, such descriptions would heavily contrast with Richard the Third, as he is a man who is physically deformed, and so, a man who may not be favorably judged off his physical appearance alone. And so, casting Catesby, Richard’s most trusted accomplice, as a woman, creates a sort of link between Richard and Catesby, one where they may appear to be equals (or for Richard, as close as one would be able to get in being seen as an equal).

 I am truly glad to have had the honour of being able to witness Richard III on stage, especially with the great talent that was present within the staff, tech, and cast members of the play. It can be quite difficult to direct a large amount of cast characters, while also attempting to accurately display the character of a character who has often been labelled as “the epitome of evil” (Richard),  while maintaining a sense of one’s own individuality within the piece; in such regards, Ron Jenkins has far exceeded my expectations. From watching this play, I have learnt more of Richard III than I would have been able to had I kept reading the play continuously on my own. The audience’s interpretation of Richard, their love for Richard the Third, is simply a reflection of their own perspectives of what may be considered “good”, what may be “bad”; what may be “justified”, what may be “cruel”. Initially saw Richard to be a failed character who was completely defined by what I saw to be evil. Then, while viewing the play, I shifted my perception to see him as a victim of circumstance. Finally, in the play’s aftermath, I view Richard to be what I believe he has been all along: innately human.




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2 thoughts on “Innately Human

  1. Dear Rehman,

    I am in awe with this piece already! The very first sentence has drawn me in completely and wholly, yet I’ve only read thus far! It conveys that Richard is a man you will despise from the beginning, but will connect to the humanity hidden deep within him entirely. At the end of the day, we’re as close to what Richard is than we can possibly imagine. Okay, I must read on!

    Hello again! Alright! This quote in your piece had me contemplating my own thoughts on Richard the Third.
    “Could Richard’s soliloquies toward the audience, be a show of Richard’s manipulation to the audience?”
    I was instantly struck with the thought that, while laughing and near tears at Richard’s inevitable death, my feelings on the character could have been in result of his constant deceit. I begin to feel myself just how the characters in the story endured his appalling lies, when realizing just how easy it was to become a piece in the game.

    I love how you describe the humanity within Richard, and bring into terms just how human he truly is. I also love to see both sides of a character, and realize that the bad does not outweigh the good; an idea in which you developed through this piece. However, while sides of Richard may shine through the dark persona, this also does not brighten the disgusting actions that have taken place. I find myself once again fighting with my mind, as I notice that I still understand his actions completely. The events were in result of the actions of others and their constant prejudice on who Richard was; and I once again see the hurt that Richard buries deep in his soul. Thank you for the message you send through this piece.

    Lastly, when your final sentence linked with the title of your blog, I found it very beautiful as it tied the whole piece together!

    One thing I had found when reading is that some sentences ran too long, and as I read aloud I lost my breathe sometimes. The words are all so intellectual, and the sentences didn’t lose their meaning; however, reading it to yourself can help to find the areas where more pauses are needed.

    I look forward to reading more from you, Rehman!!


  2. Dearest Rehman,

    At the very first sentence, the cacophony (Callous, cold, calculating) of your words drew my attention, and I really liked how you introduced the idea of Richard being equal to other humans, hence the black and white picture of the tree.

    I also liked how you described Richard’s physical weakness; his deformities, but “he compensates with an unrivalled mastery of manipulation…” This sentence really stuck to me, and it made me think that people who rule over others mentally have a far stronger grip on their victims than physically.
    You also meantioned weakness when you interpreted Catesby’s relationship with Richard, as intimate but loyal. In the play, it showed how Richard did not pretend in front of Catesby, and this also made me realize that Richard would not have been able to succeed in his undying will to become king.
    I really liked how you interpreted Haysem Kadri’s soliloquies to the audience as a way of showing his evil and manipulative character, but explaining how he was “still a human” really tied right into your title, Innately Human. You also did this and the end of your review, and after reading this, I completely agree that Richard was all along human. This also reminded me of the Monster in Frankenstein, and at the end of the novel, the Monster experienced guilt and regret of killing all of Victor’s family, despite his physical appearance, just like Richard’s deformities.

    Overall, your sentences were really smooth and intellectual. However, I agree with Elissa, some if the sentences were a bit too long, and I did notice that you used “all the while” twice in the same sentence; I would watch out for that. Besides that, I really enjoyed your review, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your work!!

    Sincerely, Kelley

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