Unlike other tragedies by Shakespeare, in the course of its afterlife King Richard III was never turned into a comedy through the insertion of a happy ending. It did, however, undergo a transformation of dramatic genre in the numerous burlesques that were composed for the London stage in the nineteenth-century. The purpose of this article is to look at the parodic treatment of the play in three of these works. King Richard III has been chosen for its atypical stage history. In fact, this play is unique in having been played throughout most of the nineteenth century, not in Shakespeare’s version, but in Colley Cibber’s. Since the stage King Richard III was already an adaptation of Shakespeare’s text, burlesques of this play are peculiarly complex. On the one hand, they are second-degree adaptations, but on the other hand, the parodists sometimes attempted small restorations of the original text, thus creating an interesting interplay between the different versions that challenged what passed for Shakespeare on the contemporary “legitimate” stage and, paradoxically, reinstated Shakespeare’s “authority”. The burlesques of King Richard III that will be examined were produced in 1823, in 1844 and in 1868. Consequently, the analysis will also show how the genre changed over time.

“'The Farcical Tragedies of King Richard III': The Nineteenth-Century Burlesques"

Nicoletta Caputo
2021

Abstract

Unlike other tragedies by Shakespeare, in the course of its afterlife King Richard III was never turned into a comedy through the insertion of a happy ending. It did, however, undergo a transformation of dramatic genre in the numerous burlesques that were composed for the London stage in the nineteenth-century. The purpose of this article is to look at the parodic treatment of the play in three of these works. King Richard III has been chosen for its atypical stage history. In fact, this play is unique in having been played throughout most of the nineteenth century, not in Shakespeare’s version, but in Colley Cibber’s. Since the stage King Richard III was already an adaptation of Shakespeare’s text, burlesques of this play are peculiarly complex. On the one hand, they are second-degree adaptations, but on the other hand, the parodists sometimes attempted small restorations of the original text, thus creating an interesting interplay between the different versions that challenged what passed for Shakespeare on the contemporary “legitimate” stage and, paradoxically, reinstated Shakespeare’s “authority”. The burlesques of King Richard III that will be examined were produced in 1823, in 1844 and in 1868. Consequently, the analysis will also show how the genre changed over time.
Caputo, Nicoletta
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/997210
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