Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Richard III Rediscovered

Shakespeare could only go by what history and conventional wisdom told him when he wrote these lines in his play Richard III.

"I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity."

But now we know the truth. Richard was relatively tall at 5', 8" and not a hunchback. He suffered from scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, which caused one shoulder to be higher than the other. Far from being "rudely stamped," Richard was handsome, as reconstruction of his skull illustrates.

All this teaches us once again, that history is written by the victors.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe they didn't really know what scoliosis was, and because one shoulder was higher, his back was crooked and 'hunched,' therefore he was a hunchback?

    But, indeed, history is written by the victor. Should be quite a show when they bury him next year.


Comment moderation request has been emailed to the blog author.