Richard the Iii: Shakespeare’s Frankenstein or History’s Victim

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  • Topic: Edward IV of England, Richard III of England, House of York
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  • Published : October 24, 2012
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Richard the III: Shakespeare’s Frankenstein or History’s victim

By: Joshua Mastin

Shakespeare, English 233
Dr. Malkiel Choseed
5/17/12

Joshua Mastin
Dr. Malkiel Choseed
English 233
May 17, 2012

Richard the III: Shakespeare’s Frankenstein or History’s victim

We’ve all heard this famous quote before “History is written by the victors” (Winston Churchill). These words are no truer than in Shakespeare’s play Richard III. In Shakespeare’s rendition he has created a character of such evil in the form of Richard III. Richard’s first line in the play is, “I am determined to prove a villain” (Act 1, scene 1) shows Shakespeare’s intent to put Richard III in a negative light. “If asked of an average person to describe King Richard III, most would probably come up with a picture straight out of Shakespeare” (RichardIII.com) . Paul Murray Kendall wrote, ‘While the Tudor chroniclers made up the minds of subsequent historians about Richard III, Shakespeare has made up the imagination of everybody else” (Richard III.com). Richard III is portrayed as a "deformed hunchback" who ruthlessly lies, murders, and manipulates his way to throne. So the question is was Richard III a monster or was this a ploy by Shakespeare to kiss up to the higher elites such as Queen Elizabeth I, who was a Tudor and the granddaughter of Richard's replacement, King Henry VII.

The Real Richard III

Richard was born on 2 October 1452 at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire (Wikipedia). His father was Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York and his mother Cecily Neville. Richard had a claim to the English throne through both parents (Kendall p.g. 15). In the play Shakespeare never mentioned this part of Richard’s III life. According to BBC.com, Richards’s father conflict with Henry VI was a major cause of the Wars of the Roses, which dominated Richard's early life. His father and older brother died at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. In 1461, Richard's brother, Edward, became...
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