To set the mood for Richard III consider the great power struggle you would find in the great royal courts of old; royalty in their high status fashion of slick insults and devilishly sharp double crosses and gain of opportunity. Perhaps a recent episode of Game of Thrones is more your speed (no spoilers); where every opportunity that presents itself is met with an equal execution to gain an advancement, only to be met with your own “untimely” death. Not familiar with these battles of “wits” and “power?” How about a brief look into the playground at most schools; children struggling to be noticed and heard while maintaining the individuality to play with their peers while battling through sheer force, snark, intelligence and self defence to gain the upper hand.
These are great examples of the true essence of how the characters of Richard III interact with each other, but I think a more relatable and current events example would be the political race toward the presidency. As this production currently goes up, candidates are spending money, kissing metaphorical babies, shaking hands, giving speeches and touring the nation while posing for photos that help make them relatable to those of us not in the honored and high position of politics. Underhanded and aggressively attacking comments are made to knock each opponent down in the public eye while simultaneously elevating their own status to “top of the mountain.” Just replace the public voting, and throw in some murder and you basically have Richard III.
So where does the Lord of Buckingham play into this chess match of extreme proportions? He, like a majority of people in the political race, is that ambitious front runner for the ambitious seat of King. He is the candidate that is in the race not to win, but get very close. As we know, so many participate in the run to presidency (king), but there can only be one winner. Buckingham’s desire to be king just isn’t possible the way the paths are laid, but he can certainly elevate his status.
If you cannot get to the top on your own, you boost up your career by latching onto the one going that direction, and in this case, he sees Richard gaining the “…supreme seat, the throne majestical….” Perhaps the vice presidency would be an alright position for the Lord of Buckingham if he were running today. The only problem with this kill to get to the top mentality is that everybody else is playing the game as well. That means once you get to the top, you really haven’t won, you just get to be in charge until you die.
At this point I would say that being the right hand, assistant, VP, or other name for lackey would seem to be fairly desirable. The perks of power with less eyes and aggression on you since you really just are a representation of the main powerhouse (Richard). If /when something goes wrong, you can possibly slink away into the shadows and begin anew. What if it isn’t the outside enemy you should really be worried about? What if it is the person you looked up to? What if that powerhouse you have spent so much time, energy, money, love and support into is the real enemy? That person you trusted and thought was your friend that pushes your morals and your patience just a little further than you can handle becomes your largest threat? What do you do?
Now, you just don’t vote for him, or pull your funding/support. Then? Well, you hope you can run faster than the chopping block axe, and sleep with one eye open.
Lord of Buckingham Political Campaign:
Party: Richard III – “A hunchback to back your home!”
Song: “It’s a Long Way to the Top” by AC/DC
Personal Slogan: “Nothing that I respect, my gracious lord.”
Equal Marriage Rights – Why not?
Murder – Just a way of life.
Immigration – Against, unless you want to fight on our side too.
Affordable Care Act – Money from me to pay for you to get better? I don’t think so.
School Testing – If it helps weed out the competition, great!
Legalization of Marijuana – If it helps WEED out the competition, great!
Carbon Emissions/Climate Change – So much changes all the time, maybe we can just sit it out and wait.
VOTE BUCKINGHAM 2016!
(or look for the Gloucester/Bucky ticket)