Like Queen Elizabeth, Margaret, and the Duchess of York, Anne is a woman who becomes tangled in Richard’s fight for power. When the play opens, Anne is still mourning her husband (Edward the Prince of Wales) and her father-in-law (Henry VI) who were both killed by Richard. She hates Richard and even spits on him when he runs into her as she mourns over her husband’s body. However, over the course of Act 1, Scene 2, Richard is able to successfully manipulate Anne into marrying him by complimenting her beauty, professing his love for her, lying to her about his role in her husband’s death, and messing with her emotions by offering to let Anne kill him. Anne’s role in this scene is crucial to the reader’s understanding of Richard’s character. Through his masterful manipulation of Anne, the reader learns that Richard is highly intelligent and a skilled orator. So skilled that he was able to trick a woman deep in mourning to marry him, the very man that killed her family.
While the reader is able to see that Richard manipulated Anne, she is not afforded a happy ending and is, instead, punished for her choice (if you can call it that) to marry Richard. At the start of Act 1, Scene 2, a few lines before Richard enters, Anne curses Richard and prays that he and any woman who dares to marry him will have a terrible life. Anne unintentionally calls this curse upon herself when she agrees to marry Richard by the end of the scene. Anne’s prophecy becomes true when her miserable life as Richard’s wife is only ended when Richard poisons her so that he can have a more advantageous match with Princess Elizabeth. While flawed, Anne is meant to be a tragic character whose family and life were casualties in Richard’s bid for power.