Richard III, the malicious, hunchbacked younger brother of the king, proclaims himself a villain in one of literature’s most unconventional opening scenes and one of Shakespeare’s darkest history plays. Intensely jealous of his brother, Richard is hungry for power and will stop at nothing to gain it. His physical deformity mirrors his moral ugliness as he relentlessly wades through blood to the throne, murdering all who stand in his way. In order to solidify his power, he even manipulates Lady Anne, daughter to one of his victims and sister to another, into marriage. Yet despites his horrific actions, Richard remains an articulate and sympathetic character, enchanting everyone—including his readers—with a hypnotic charm. Almost as soon as Richard is crowned, however, things start to fall apart. His ruthlessness has alienated his followers, and news arrives that the Earl of Richmond is summoning troops to challenge Richard’s kingship and restore peace to England. The climactic battle pits Richmond against the evil Richard who, as a character study in evil, remains both the hero and the anti-hero of the play, devilishly attractive and repellent at the same time.
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Opening Lines (Experimental)
Scrivener, Citizens, Murderers, Messengers, Ghosts, Soldiers, &c.
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
And descant on mine own deformity:
And hate the idle pleasures of ...