In Act One: Scene Two, after Gloster’s proposal to Lady Anne was accepted he is left alone on stage. He delivers a striking soliloquy where he describes his features and his future plans for the rest of the play. It is of extreme importance and holds a great deal of significance for setting the stage of the play.
The significance of this speech is very important to the trepidation of the play. Gloster’s admiration for Lady Anne has been living in his heart for a long while. So much so that in anger and jealousy he kills her husband Edward, Prince of Wales. In the beginning of Act One: Scene two Lady Anne degrades Gloster with multiple insults but yet a=by the end of this scene she is engaged to be his wife. He finds it hard to fathom the fact that Elizabeth has accepted his proposal, it seems unlikely to him for such a beautiful woman to want to marry a man with his features. He describes himself: “But the plain devil and dissembling looks and yet to win her...” He struggles with idea that Lady Anne has already forgotten her love for her husband who Gloster believes was a much better man than he is. He describes Edward as being “young, valiant, wise and no doubt, right royal.” He goes as far to say Edward was someone who the world didn’t even deserve. He explains that Edward was a sweet and lovely gentleman so he cannot believe Lady Anne accepting his proposal nearly three months after Edward’s death. This shows the audience how low his self esteem was and how his looks make him feel undeserving of love by any woman. It is obvious he feels like an outcast compared to everyone else.
He continues by explaining his plot to make himself worthy of Lady Anne’s hand in marriage. He expands on his plan to gain the throne. He predicts that his marriage with Anne won’t be for long and he would probably have her killed along with Clarence. Gloster feels that because he is deformed, he cannot be loved; because he cannot be loved, he must be a villain; because he must be a villain, he will strive for the throne. His deformity is merely an excuse to play the antagonist, a role which he seems to enjoy. Once he has power his deformed looks won’t matter.