Maybe Thomas & William Stanley, Margaret Beaufort, Bishop Morton, Reginald Bray, John De Vere, Northumberland, and Henry Tydder Were Just Jealous
by Merlyn MacLeod
In the midst of reading an old book from 1965 called The Art of Creative Writing by Lajos Egri, I came across the following. My mind immediately went to the attitudes and actions of certain antagonists in the years, months, and days leading up to the Battle of Bosworth.
“I am speaking of that jealousy which is a deep-rooted affliction; this is the most virulent type and it must be inborn or acquired very early.
“In considering the jealous person in general, we must be aware that he is inferior to those around him. He must realize that his own ability to progress is limited. To admit this limitation is shocking to him and this makes him bitter and jealous. He scrutinizes his adversaries more than an average man would do. He is always alert for the camouflage which hides the phoney. Whether he sees the real thing or not, he is quick to cry, “It is a fake!” He may become a crusader, a human bloodhound against all pretenders, and thus camouflage his own shortcomings.
“Before jealousy there is suspicion; before suspicion, antagonism—the basis for growing hate. No one can be jealous without rancor.
“There are dislikes, such as abhorrence, which are not jealousy. The writer must be aware of the difference between jealousy and other malignant outgrowths of emotion.
“Practically all great men have some kind of physical or mental deficiency that they try to cover up, but when a man throws himself into the maelstrom of human experience and tries to prove with all his might that he is not only as good as his fellow-men but better, his drive is transformed into ambition. While jealousy is really sterile, revolving around its own axis, ambition is a movement arching into the future, eager to build. Even if ambition fails at the end it will be more constructive than the self-destroyer, jealousy.
“An ambitious man is eager for honor, superiority, power, fame and wealth. Why? To cover up the inferiority which he is ashamed of. Inordinate ambition is the sign of greater than normal insecurity and the realization that the importance of being important is an absolute necessity for establishing his superiority over the common herd.” (Italics: Egri)
Since readers of this blog are likely familiar with the players in the unfolding drama that might be called, “The Life and Times of Richard III,” I am not going to review all of the ways the actions of the Stanleys, Beaufort, Morton, Bray, the Earl of Oxford, Northumberland, and Tydder fit this profile—those actions are so numerous, they would fill a book…or a multitude of blog articles.
I do not mean to infer that the aforementioned players were jealous only of Richard III’s power and position. The foundations for their jealousies and resentments were certainly laid by Edward IV…as other jealousies and resentments were laid by Henry IV and Margaret d’Anjou.
REFERENCE: Egri, Lajos, The Art of Creative Writing, Citadel Press, New York, 1965. Taken from Chapter Five, “The Shaping of a Character,” page 43.