• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Richard III's Character in the Play and History

Extracts from this document...


Using Act 1 Scene 2 as a Starting Point, Discuss The Character of Richard III as Shakespeare Presents Him, and How the Play May Reflect a Tudor View of History. In Shakespeare's 'King Richard III,' Richard is portrayed as an evil and manipulative man. This however may not have been his true self as the incidents were written around one hundred and ten years later. In this essay I shall be analysing Richard's character and how that may differ from how he was in real life. In Act 1 Scene 2 the corpse of Henry VI, having been defeated at the battle of Tewkesbury, is being carried in the funeral procession and Anne, his daughter in-law, is mourning his death. Richard enters and we immediately get an impression of him. He orders the procession to be stopped in line 33, 'Stay, you that bear the corpse, and set it down.' It is unorthodox to stop a funeral and he also is very disrespectful and he shows how ill mannered and rude he can be. Anne then reflects a similar opinion as she tells the audience her impression of Richard, "What black magician conjures up this fiend." She describes him as though he is evil, this links to the end of the play in which Richard represents evil, as opposed to Richmond representing good, in the final battle at Bosworth. ...read more.


Richard pretends to make peace with his enemies in order to make them trust him so that he will be able to get away without accusation, "To any in this presence, I desire to reconcile me to his friendly peace." Richard acts modestly and pretends to be unwilling as he is offered to take the throne, this fools everyone and they believe that he is a pious man and his modesty shows how good a man he is. "I am unfit for state and majesty. I do beseech you, take it not amiss; I cannot nor I will not yield to you." This also shows how he takes risks through the play as the Lord Mayor and citizens may have just accepted his refusal and turned away. Richard often manipulates others right through the play. He mostly succeeds in achieving his goals and mocks people for the weakness after getting what he wants. Richard blames Clarence's imprisonment on queen, " 'Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower. My lady Grey, his wife, Clarence, 'tis she that tempts him to this harsh extremity" Richard offers the bribe of the earldom of Hereford to Buckingham; this bribe helps Richard successfully manipulate him. Buckingham helps Richard quite a lot during the play but later Richard does not honour his promise. ...read more.


There is evidence that Richard was not directly responsible for Clarence's execution and that Clarence was deserving of imprisonment as he was disloyal to his brother King Edward IV. It is now known that Richard had not killed King Henry VI. Anne died naturally after a happy marriage to Richard. This shows that he is not as cynical as Shakespeare portrays him throughout the play. Richard did not make himself Lord Protector, he was appointed by Edward IV. Richard was loyal and trusted by his brother, that's why he was given land in the north. Richard is now thought to have been faithful to his brother and was not the backstabber as shown in the play. Parliament approved Richard's claim to be King, he may have actually had the right to the throne. Richard may have genuinely believed that the princes were illegitimate, rather than spreading rumours to get to the throne, and he was justified in keeping them from the throne. Richard regarded himself as king and rather than the usurper that Shakespeare portrays. There is no evidence that Richard is linked to the deaths of the two Princes in the Tower of London. Richard was possibly not the murderer he was believed to be in the Tudor years, nor that he murdered anyone, other than in battle. Richmond's claim to the throne was weaker than Richard's. After Richmond became King he tried to blacken Richard and that eventually became history for Shakespeare, he may have thought that his play was historically correct. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Richard III section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Richard III essays

  1. Discuss The Character of Richard III as Shakespeare Presents Him, and How the Play ...

    Richard, instead of insulting Anne as one would expect, he replies "Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst." Anne is not fooled by Richard's acting straight away and so she behaves in a similar way to Richard's mother in Act four Scene four.

  2. How Genuine was the Relationship Between Richard and Buckingham?

    Sadly, he gets caught out. He tries to back off and procrastinate but this is such a change from the former Buckingham who would follow his orders without questioning them, that Richard notices and, being very clever and sharp-minded, guesses the truth. This is the moment when the audience realises that theirs was not a

  1. Richard III - provide an exploration of how Shakespeare presents appearance and reality within ...

    This is a perfect example of how Richard cleverly utilizes appearance and reality to regularly transform his character when needed. It is difficult to make a definition of Richard because he changes his character so many times. From the beginning of the play the audience find it hard to make

  2. How do we feel Sympathy or Admiration for Richard III?

    And because Richards's humanity is showing through we there fore feel sympathy for him. He then says, "cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh" which is his sweating and trembling with fear of the ghosts, but fundamentally Death. And again we see him being very contradictory and critical of himself when he says, "Richard loves Richard".

  1. How does Shakespeare shape the audience's perception of Richard in Act One scene one ...

    Richard introduces compliments, comparing Anne to an angel and she responds consistently with insults. Richard tells Anne to take up his sword and to kill him for his crimes, but she cannot kill him. He says to her: 'Take up the sword again, or take up me.'

  2. How does Shakespeare represent female characters in Richard the third?

    However she is rising above her "level" in society when judging males, she is a widow. She is the widow of King Henry the fourth. Now she has not got an important role in society but instead of keeping to her "corner", she tells everyone that will listen, the future and accuses Richard of being a murderer.

  1. 'In his depiction of Richard III Shakespeare has created much more than a simple ...

    The word 'proportion' introduces a can of images continued in 'unfinished', ' unfashionable' and deformity. All this imagery suggests that Richard conscious of his deformities and does not find the need to hide his problems and pretend that they do not exist.

  2. Explain How Richard Succeeds in Seducing Lady Anne in Act 1 Scene 1 of ...

    and the murderers wife she uses only male references, "If ever he have child," "And that be heir to his unhappiness."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work