Essay on Richard Iii

Richard III is the last in Shakespeare’s   first tetralogy following Henry VI parts I – III and is a dramatization of historical events that ended in 1485 depicting the rise of Richard III and his subsequent short reign over England - a key turning point in English history. It takes place towards the end of the War of the Roses and the rise of the Tudor Dynasty. Richard III can be said to be one of the most evil characters created by Shakespeare, considered by many – even Richard himself in the play - to be a Vice figure. In the play, he is aligned with the profile of a bloodthirsty murderer, he shows no mercy to even his family and kills without batting an eyelid. He is solely motivated by personal gain and is a masterful liar. However, I feel that through the generations audiences have seemed to accept the play as reality and have not given Richard’s character fair consideration. The line between fact and fiction has been greatly blurred and there lies a possibility that, instead of being a vicious villain as most people agree with, Richard III is actually a victim of misrepresentation.

In my opinion, the play seems to be a probe into Richard’s mind, the very representation of the psychology of evil. He is seen as a Machiavellian prince who is unabashedly evil and declares in his very first speech that he is set on being king and would stop at nothing to achieve that goal. Even his appearance is an outward manifestation of his twisted and evil psyche which becomes the chrysalis of his ruthlessness. Perhaps his anger towards other people, his mother even, stems from his inadequacy which fuels his desire to usurp power.

There is also a disturbing intimacy between the audience and Richard during his soliloquys during the first act when they are allowed to peer into his mind and know his thoughts,   There is a sense that he confides in the audience to evoke feelings of sympathy especially towards his deformity. He intrigues and deceives people with his charming...