There's something I never understood - why does Lady Anne agree to marry Richard III if she hates him so much? I keep rereading the scene but I still don't understand why she changes her mind.
I’m inclined to say you’re reading it right if it seems incomprehensible. I believe it’s meant to be audacious, even verging on ridiculous, that Richard should manage to woo his erstwhile enemies’ wife and daughter-in-law right in front of her father-in-law’s corpse. Even Richard thinks so: ‘Was ever woman in this humour wooed? / Was ever woman in this humour won?’ (1.2.213-14)
What the scene really shows is the sheer seductiveness of Richard’s rhetoric in spite of his looks and in spite of everything he’s done. In terms of the play as a whole it’s an extremely important thing to establish. But because Anne is pretty intelligent herself, the scene also has something in common with Shakespeare’s intelligent wrangling couples like Beatrice and Benedick, or even Katherine and Petruchio, whose wordplay and argument hide serious sexual tensions. It’s often the case in Shakespeare and in many other stories that hatred and repulsion are the preliminary to love or physical attraction (think of the classic Pride and Prejudice model of love story where the protagonist and main love interest start off disliking one another). Because unlike indifference, hatred is at least some form of passion; they’re often said to be two sides of the same coin, and though it’s not necessarily a good thing, there’s often a close association between intense sexual attraction and violence. It’s just particularly excessive in the case of Lady Anne and Richard, and unlike most uses of this hate to love trope, it’s sinister because it’s entirely faked on Richard’s side.
Basically, there isn’t really a reason why Lady Anne changes her mind: she just does. It’s unreasonable because it’s irrational. They engage in a battle of wits with a strong underlying sexual tension and where it’s made clear from Richard’s approach that the stakes are her marital status, and she’s ultimately defeated. He manages to turn Anne into the reason for which he killed the people she loved and he does it so insistently and powerfully that she starts to believe it. Then he guilt-trips her: ‘That hand which for thy love did kill thy love / Shall for thy love kill a far truer love. / To both their deaths shalt thou be accessary’ (1.2.175-77). He appeals to emotional reactions rather than to reason and is willing to risk his life for his bet that she will succumb to him. And she does. She’s so confused by the end she doesn’t even know what to think: 'I would I knew thy heart’ (1.2.178). She’s half convinced, half doubting. It might even be deliberate that he targets her at the funeral when she’s most emotionally vulnerable. He’s utterly odious, but it’s hard not to admire his nerve and ingenuity
Having said all this, the best way to understand the scene might be to see it played well rather than reading it lots of times. A good actor can really convey Richard’s repulsive seductiveness in a way that makes Anne’s capitulation somewhat comprehensible.
Imagine meeting Gabriel for the first time after his death...
You slumped into the front seat. Sam and Dean were going to be at least another half an hour with the witness, she had quite clearly developed a soft spot for them so you quickly left to left them to it. They would put on the brooding male image and you could get this case cracked, all whilst you had a few minutes peace.
Settling back into the seat, you pulled your sleeves over your hands, in the evening air, it’d gotten suprisingly chilly. You muttered a few curses under your breath and shivered.
“You know, I could come over there and warm you up, honey.”
You whipped your head around and with wide eyes took in the figure in the back seat.
“Gabriel? What the hell?” You squeaked, hand flying to the small knife you kept tucked in your boot.
“Is that any way to treat an old friend? Huh, kids these days…” he muttered, with a grin.
“No. Gabriel’s dead. What are you?” You snapped.
“I’m me. You all come back from the dead enough, talk about double standards.” He said, straightening up in the seat. “Now, while we’re on that note, I have a little favour to ask.”
I think I only mentioned it to professionalspacewhale, but last year I happened to see Samuel Barnett, aka Intergalactic Advocate Bob, as Elizabeth Woodville in an all-male production of Shakespeare’s Richard III.
Elizabeth is a pretty awesome character- she’s Richard’s widowed sister-in-law, who helps to ultimately destroy him after he kills her little sons as part of his desperation for a throne he could never have, by thwarting his engagement to her daughter, his own niece, and betrothing her to the Earl of Richmond instead. That kiss up there was an especially great moment- Richard attempts to basically woo her daughter through her by proxy, but she cuts him off one by one, and when he asks her to give the girl a kiss for him, Barnett played her response as a kiss so hateful and violent that it left Richard sputtering on the ground while Elizabeth sailed off to victory. All pretty far from history (I’m a pretty staunch defender of the historical Richard III, actually), but great theater.