In looking for Richard by Al Pacino how does Pacino portray the equality of women and men and their more dominant and equal roles in our modern society as opposed to the way women are treated in...

In looking for Richard by Al Pacino how does Pacino portray the equality of women and men and their more dominant and equal roles in our modern society as opposed to the way women are treated in King RIchard III ( just talk about the role of women in looking for richard )

Asked on by seerboldly

1 Answer | Add Yours

winston-smith's profile pic

winston-smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

In Al Pacino’s documentary, Looking for Richard, there are three very important women to look at, Penelope Allen who plays Queen Elizabeth, Winona Ryder who plays Lady Anne and Estelle Parsons who plays Margaret. Each woman represents in some way the character that they portray in the play.

Penelope Allen argues with her male counterpoints as to how Elizabeth should be portrayed or seen. She challenges the notion that Elizabeth is reacting simply out of hysterics over the death of her husband. Allen attempts to show that it is Elizabeth’s emotions that give her strength and should be the source of power behind her words. Simply calling it a hysterical reaction demeans the true nature of the character.

Pacino, when considering the character of Lady Anne, notes that she should be young, contrary to women who have previously played the roles. Women for stage productions had to have a voice that would be able to deliver the lines, usually a more experienced actress. With film, the need for a powerful voice is not needed and thus the role can be cast for a younger actress. This mirrors in some way the character of Lady Anne, she does not have to have any strength of character other than her beauty to serve a part, yet it is her ability to spot opportunity that gives her strength. It is the strength of ability that lies within the beauty of the younger Ryder that brings Lady Anne’s character to life.

Lastly, Estelle Parsons, who plays Margaret, truly gives recognition to the idea that where beauty fails age and wisdom can be power. Margret in the play is seen as somewhat crazy yet the characters fear her word. It is mentioned that Margret is like a primal force. It is not beauty that is her strength but some deeper expression of strength held with-in and laid bare by her words.

It is interesting that you have three women represented in what draw parallels to the classic vision of Maid, Mother, and Crone, a trope that Shakespeare would be familiar with. In the documentary, these three women represent their characters and reflect the gender notions of our own time, as well as those in Shakespeare's.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,922 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question