Shakespeare's Richard III

             Richard III is considered one of Shakespeare's most evil characters, one endowed with sharp wit and lacking in morals, who governs through fear and force. Richard III deals extensively with the themes of political corruption and dissimulation. Richard's reign is portrayed as a period in which nothing is sacred; neither on a political or social level, nor on a personal one. Richard will stop at nothing, not even at betraying his friends and murdering his kin, in order to become king. Although his traits of character are clearly illustrated through his deeds and words, Shakespeare provides the reader with an important contrast to the character of the king, namely the women of the play. These women are: the Duchess of York, Richard's mother; Anne who later becomes Richard's wife; Queen Margaret who was the former queen and Richard's arch enemy, and Queen Elizabeth, the current queen. Also, Queen Elizabeth's daughter, Elizabeth, is present in the plot but the reader is never introduced to her.
             Richard appears one-dimensionally evil, a flat character, the embodiment of evil and moral decay. His evil ambitions are expressed at the outset of the play; his purpose is to deepen the chaos in the kingdom and ultimately become king. He is portrayed through the eyes of the characters, especially the women in the play. Anne, Elizabeth, the Duchess of York and Margaret are voices of protest and morality who condemn the actions of the king, and are able to see through his intrigues, and at times, even to foresee the consequences of his acts. In fact, the four women are used as voices of the Elizabethan age in the sense that they provide an extraordinary example of the world view belonging to that particular era in the history of England. Not only do these women point out moral truths, but they also ask for divine retribution and point to a higher moral authority which transcends the realm of human action. These women illustrate how moral ...

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Shakespeare's Richard III. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:58, February 21, 2024, from