King Richard III
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King Richard III (Wars of the Roses #8)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  23,705 ratings  ·  692 reviews
The Arden Shakespeare is the established edition of Shakespeare's work. Justly celebrated for its authoritative scholarship and invaluable commentary, Arden guides you a richer understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's plays.This edition of King Richard III provides, a clear and authoritative text, detailed notes and commentary on the same page as the text, a full in...more
Paperback, Second Series, 400 pages
Published December 1st 1981 by Arden Shakespeare (first published 1597)
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Madeline
Richard III, abridged:

RICHARD: Mwahahaha! Mwahahahahaha! Mwahaha!
CLARENCE: Hey brother! So, I guess I'm being sent to the Tower of London. Sucks, right?
RICHARD: Don't worry, Clarence, you'll be fine. I'll try and get you out, and certainly won't hire assassins to kill you or anything.
CLARENCE: Awesome! You're the best!
RICHARD: Mwahahaha!
ANNE: You killed my husband and my son in the last play, you asshole! I HATE YOU SO MUCH!
RICHARD: I only killed your husband because you're so fucking hot.
A...more
Paul


Here is an excellent and fun archaelogical story. They just found Richard III. He was under a municipal car park. People had been parking their Renault Clios and Ford Fiestas on top of him for years.
Now, we last saw Richard being killed in Shakespeare at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 :

SCENE V. Another part of the field.
Alarum. Enter KING RICHARD III and RICHMOND; they fight. KING RICHARD III is slain.


After that, allegedly, the body was dragged into Leicester (25 miles south of Nottingham...more
Bill  Kerwin

I had remembered this play as nothing more than a superb melodrama organized around a charismatic, one-dimensional villain, but I now realize it is much more complex than this.

Richard's deformity is not merely a physical sign of spiritual evil, but also a metaphor for the twisted era of internecine and intra-generational violence of which he himself is the inevitable conclusion. Richard claims that his disability disqualifies him for a peaceful age's love-making, but his effective wooing of Lad...more
G.R. Reader
I played Anne in my school's production of Richard III when I was 15. In the seduction scene from Act 1, the guy playing Richard, who was a complete asshole, decided to put his hand on my left breast somewhere towards the end. I turned round and punched him in the face, knocking out one of his teeth.

They had to end the play there and then and I got expelled, but it was worth it.
Manny
Richard is ugly, and the girls aren't interested. This really sours his attitude. He decides to plunge the country into another ruinous civil war; that'll show the bitches.

But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing wor
...more
notgettingenough
I hate you Al Pacino. Hate, hate, hate. You aren’t just the summer of my discontent, you are all four seasons and then some. Oh, and I take back anything I might have said about marrying you if you stop doing Martin Scorsese movies.

You do this movie, Al Pacino, Looking for Richard. This insidious movie that draws you in, entices you, sucks you into the idea that you gotta, gotta, gotta see Al Pacino doing Richard III, Al Pacino and his American mates have done just the best Richard III ever, and...more
Esdaile
I think that if I were asked to name the Shakespeare play which I least enjoyed, I would name this one. It is a piece of propaganda from beginning to end. It is not worthy of comparison with Shakespeare's
far superior Richard II, whether in terms of poetry, psychology or dramatic quality. This is not to say that there are not memorable elements to the play, foremost of course, the opening solilloquoy, the epitome of the characteristic in English literature to create caricature and paint it up as...more
Libby
This single play causes more conflict in me than all the other works of Shakespeare together. This play has it all when considered as drama. Aristotle said drama should inspire terror and pity and this one does that so thoroughly. It goes right to the heart of bitter envy, of loneliness, of pain, all curdling in the juices of family and turning to hatred and revenge. The action builds ominously and the dialog is---well---Shakespearian. The lines roll out so beautifully that sometimes I lose the...more
Orsolya
What can one say about Shakespeare’s work which has not already been said? Probably not much. However, what can be said about the blackened reputation of the “villainous hunchback” Richard III? Well, that could (and does) fill volumes. Shakespeare’s histories may be a little biased and somewhat humorous; but they certainly provide entertainment. These traits transgress to the famous play, “Richard III”.

“Richard III” encompasses both tragedies and comedic elements although the comedic elements ar...more
Cheri
I've been re-reading my Shakespeare. I love this play so much, the language is so rich and lovely. I've also been re-watching all the Shakespeare films, so this is a duel medium review.

I hate, hate, hate the Lawrence Olivier Richard III. Firstly, he adds pieces of monologues from other plays to the opening speech, (a speech which is perfect on it's own). Apparently, it was supposed to be under the guise of making it more understandable, but comes off as awful! Add to that the fact that he doesn'...more
Phil
Reading the plays in the order they were written (or at least one such list), this is probably Shakespeare's first real masterpiece. The historical material of the Henry VI plays combine with the Seneca / Revenge Tragedy style blood-letting and torture-porn of Titus Andronicus to produce probably the greatest villain in the history of the stage. Richard dominates the play more than any other character does in Shakespeare's works because, unlike Thomas Moore (whose politically driven demonising o...more
David Sarkies
This is one of Shakespeare's earlier tragedies though it is considered more of a history than a tragedy. A history it might be, but it can be argued that it is not an accurate history, but rather a piece of propaganda that was designed to cement the power of the current Tudor dynasty (not that Elizabeth I needed anything to cement her power).
The play is set in the closing years of the Wars of the Roses. This was a civil war in England between two noble houses, Lancaster and York, and rulership...more
Ben
As a play, The Life and Death of Richard III shocks audiences with Richard's abhorrent and frightening exhibition of evil. As a conclusion to the first tetralogy, it dazzles the mind.

Richard III kills without remorse, his plots cunningly slither through the royal community and construct a political and psychological power around the feeble hunchback. But most importantly, he strikes fear in others because he forges his path by his own rules. He embodies the very antithesis to Henry VI's guiding...more
Jack
"Richard III," the culmination of Shakespeare's first historical tetralogy, is the direct sequel to "3 Henry VI" but is often performed and studied in isolation, both because it is so much better than the three preceding plays and because it is so peculiarly popular that its relation to them has been somewhat obscured in general perception of Shakespeare's work. In the "Henry VI" plays, the demands of the history genre always seem to set limits on Shakespeare's imaginative freedom, limits only r...more
Keith
I was led to a rereading of Shakespeare's Richard the Third while watching the BBC's The White Queen, an often campy but equally fascinating dramatization of the first three books of Phillipa Gregory's "Cousins War." Her books tell the tale of the English Wars of the Roses by focussing on three women each of whom played a large part in the proceedings. As we began watching I refreshed my foggy memory of those events by reading Desmond Sewards's excellent "Introduction" in his Brief History of th...more
Laura
From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3:
A production of one of Shakespeare's most popular plays featuring his most charismatic villain.

Douglas Henshall stars as Shakespeare's villain. With original music by David Pickvance.


Nina
I have mixed feelings about this play. On the one hand I found it one of the more accessible of Shakespeare's plays, and some of the dialogue was particularly inspired and deliciously clever in conveying and perpetuating the dark content of both the story in general and Richard in specific. I can also see Shakespeare's evolution in crafting tortured, Satan like villains that are somehow likeable exactly because of their shameless depravity. I see the germs of Iago in Richard, and the part of me...more
Pete daPixie
I don't have a copy of the book, but I do have the video of the London Films production with Sir Larry in the principal role. One of my fav Shakes' plays, and the opening monologue from Gloucester has to be one of the finest in the canon:
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarum...more
Marina

The play's about the final years of the Plantagenet dynasty in England and the rise to the throne and two-years rule of Richard the Third.
It's an attempt at a historical play but in reality is nothing more than blatant Tudorist propaganda.

I'm not saying I didn't like it - I did and it has it's peaks and valleys, but when the good writing is so good and the bad so bad, the whole piece loses it's magic a bit.

This bit is more suitable for a review of "Henry VI", but while reading it I was too busy...more
Michele
This is the evil Richard III upon which all future "monster Richards" would be based upon. It doesn't matter that the play isn't accurate...you must remember that Shakespeare wrote this knowing that Elizabeth I would be seeing it and since Richmond was her grandfather and the founder of her Tudor dynasty, of course Richard had to be bad, bad, bad. And is he ever bad!

Richard schemes, plots, murders and lies his way through the play to grab the crown. There is absolutely no redeeming trait within...more
Ken Moten
"Richard:
Sweet prince, the untainted virtue of your years
Hath not yet div'd into the world's deceit:
Nor more can you distinguish of a man
Than of his outward show; which, God He knows,
Seldom or never jumpeth with the heart.
Those uncles which you want were dangerous;
Your grace attended to their sugar'd words
But look'd not on the poison of their hearts:
God keep you from them and from such false friends!
" - Act III, scene 1

When seeing and reading this play I was reminded of a particular g...more
Angus Mcfarlane
The recent discovery of Richard III's bones under a parking lot inspired me to read the Shakespeare version of his life, having not read any Shakespeare since high school. Richard is not portrayed with the slightest sympathy and is largely hated by friends and foe, in both their life and their death. There is probably reason to believe he was an unpleasant character, however, the hunched back (that poisonous bunchback'd toad), short reign and whatever political allegiance his family was inferred...more
Zarakoda
As Shakespeare's fourth play, Richard III appears much more "restricted" in content and less thought-provoking than the famous playwright's later works. This also comes about due to the formal nature of the piece, I suppose, but one reading this play can certainly tell Shakespeare was developING as a writer and person and not fully developed. Whereas later plays often question values (even if the conclusion seems to support tradition or the like), there is little questioning in Richard III. Basi...more
Samantha
I have been avoiding reading Shakespeare's Richard III for some time now. I did not want to have this villianized picture of him in my mind, no matter how popular. Preferring the Richard who is loyal, brilliant, loving, and tragic, I kept myself from this portrayal. Maybe neither extreme is completely true, and I quickly discovered that Shakespeare's beautiful dialog makes up for the atrocious level of historical accuracy. I will not delve into the historical missteps. If you know Plantagenet hi...more
Olivia
This is the first real disappointment of my Shakespeare Summer. I've never seen this in performance, but I saw the Ian McKellan movie in high school and it was oodles of fun. I'm thinking this play may only work in performance; on the page it is limp, silly, and anticlimactic.

I found Richard funny at times, but his humor is monochromatic, mostly just ironical flattery with a, erm, grave double meaning. An actor like McKellan may be able to find nuances here that aren't in the text, but on its ow...more
Rufusgermanicus Meelberg
Absolutely brilliant. It might bade fair to replace MacBeth or Lear in my favorite spots of Shakespeare. To give you an idea, this edition with it's notes was helpful for a few things, but those who read Shakespeare frequently know most of the more archaic or anachronistic words to understand the text. There is some of those words here, but it's a much simpler play in terms of language than some of this others. And some of the passages are strikingly bald and straightforward, such as when Richar...more
Stephanie Ricker
The BBC did a four-part Shakespeare miniseries called The Hollow Crown, consisting of four plays, including Henry V. I adore Henry V with a burning passion, so I went ahead and watched that one even though it was the final part of the series. Whoever chose which scenes to cut from the play should be fired, and the direction was pretty shoddy, but Tom Hiddleston (Loki of Thor and The Avengers) did an excellent job as Henry. He did such a good job, in fact, that I decided to watch Henry IV parts 1...more
Bruce
How enjoyable it is to return to a Shakespeare play and re-experience it after long absence. So many lines are familiar, yet always seem fresh. At the beginning of his historical plays, I always struggle a bit to figure out who the characters are and what their relationships are to each other, but once that becomes clear, it’s clear sailing. In this case, one wonders why Richard is so malignant? It seems unlikely to be simply the result of his physical deformities and the rejection that he may h...more
Janebbooks
Recent events have revived the RICHARD III debate.

In September of 2012 archeologists unearthed bones thought to be those of the monarch in a parking lot in Leicester, England. Now is the time to re-read William Shakespeare's 1591 play about a twisted soul who purportedly locked his young nephews in the Tower of London. Did Shakespeare offer a fair accounting of historical record or was the Bard a spin doctor for the House of Tudor that assumed power in 1485?

Twentieth century novels and films ha...more
Eric Byrnes
I had to re-read Richard III after the late king's bones were unearthed this year. I've always found Shakespeare's portrayal of him loveably despicable, and there's a tenderness in my heart for the last, rather Machiavellian, Plantagenet king of England. For me, there are about three dates that come to mind to demarcate the end of the Middle Ages: the fall of Constantinople (1453), the Columbus' voyage to the New World (1492) and, of course, the death of Richard III Plantagenet at Bosworth Field...more
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr...more
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