Masquerading Early Modern Disability

Sexuality, Violence, and the Body (Politic) in Richard III

in Screen Bodies
Author: Lauren Coker1
View More View Less
  • 1 Delta State University lcokerdurso@deltastate.edu
Restricted access

Building on Katherine Schaap Williams’s (2009) reading of the play, this article uses a disability studies approach to consider Richard Loncraine’s 1995 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Loncraine’s adaptation allows modern-day viewers to experience a highly visual (and often intimate) exchange with Sir Ian McKellen as Richard Gloucester. Specifically, Gloucester’s verbal claims of a disability that renders him unsuitable as a leader and a lack of sexual prowess are juxtaposed alongside sexually violent visual actions and imagery—particularly in the form of phallic symbols. The juxtaposition of verbal passivity in opposition to visual aggression demonstrates how Richard showcases or hides his disability as he pursues the throne: the first half of the film features Richard masquerading ability, while the second half features him masquerading disability.

Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 145 87 5
Full Text Views 29 24 2
PDF Downloads 51 47 1