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Richard is so obviously and grotesquely unqualified for the supreme position of power that they dismiss him from their minds.Their focus is always on someone else, until it is too late.His success in obtaining the crown depended on a fatal conjunction of diverse but equally self-destructive responses from those around him.
As the play conceives it, Richard’s villainy was readily apparent to everyone.
There was no secret about his fathomless cynicism, cruelty and treacherousness, no glimpse of anything redeemable in him and no reason to believe that he could govern the country effectively.
Second, there are those who cannot keep in focus that Richard is as bad as he seems to be.
They see perfectly well that he has done this or that ghastly thing, but they have a strange penchant for forgetting, as if it were hard work to remember just how awful he is.
These allies and followers help him ascend from step to step, collaborating in his dirty work and watching the casualties mount with cool indifference.
They are, as Shakespeare imagines it, among the first to go under, once Richard has used them to obtain his end.
Something in us enjoys every minute of his horrible ascent to power.
Shakespeare brilliantly shows all of these types of enablers working together in the climactic scene of this ascent.
In the early 1590s, Shakespeare sat down to write a play that addressed a problem: How could a great country wind up being governed by a sociopath?
The problem was not England’s, where a woman of exceptional intelligence and stamina had been on the throne for more than 30 years, but it had long preoccupied thoughtful people.