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The Tragedy of Richard the Third

by William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,511791,530 (3.98)6 / 265
Final play in Shakespeare's dramatization of the strife between the Houses of York and Lancaster. Richard is stunning archvillain who seduces, betrays and murders his way to the throne. Explanatory footnotes.
  1. 20
    The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: This is a mystery involving Richard III and the two princes in the tower, and seems to have garnered a bit of respect. It's a great read on its own, and would make a great companion read to Shakespeare's Richard III.
  2. 00
    Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics by Stephen Greenblatt (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: This book by Stephen Greenblatt explains the political ideas of Shakespeare in a wonderfully readable book. Although many of the plays are discussed, he provides a great explanation to Henry VI and Richard III.
  3. 00
    Henry VI, Part 3 by William Shakespeare (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: I recently reread Richard III after reading Henry VI, part 3 and enjoyed it much more. First, the characters are more familiar since they play prominent roles in Henry VI. Second, the future Richard III begins his scheming in Henry VI, party 3.
  4. 00
    We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman (KayCliff)
  5. 00
    Yorkists: The History of a Dynasty by Anne Crawford (KayCliff)
  6. 00
    The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones (aquariumministry)

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English (71)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
Listened to this on CD. It helps to have a vague appreciation of the events of the Wars of the Roses - although that does mean that you know how this is going to end...
There's a saying that History is written by the victors and that seems to have had a certain influence here. Richard III is painted really very blackly. That's not to say he was necessarily a good King, but he's presented here as deformed, murdering, devious and not above some pretty dark deeds. He gets disowned by his mother. Even the ghosts of his victims turn up and revile Richard while providing balm to the slumber of Henry Tudor. It's all a bit thick.
The timeframe is clearly much compressed, the events take place over a few years, not the 3 hours of the play's duration. Having said that, there's plenty to catch the attention and enjoy in here. ( )
  Helenliz | Mar 1, 2022 |
My favorite quote from this play is "Everyman's conscience is a thousand words" (Oxford) as opposed to Richard's, "Conscience is but a word cowards use." Great reading! ( )
  Tess_W | Jan 17, 2022 |
26. Richard III by William Shakespeare
Originally Performed: 1592
format: 255-pages Signet Classic
acquired: May 11
read: May 22 – June 22
time reading: 10:12, 2.4 mpp
rating: 5
locations: 1480’s England
about the author: April 23, 1564 – April 23, 1616

[[Mark Eccles]] – editor – 1965, 1988, 1998
[[Sylvan Barnet]] – Series Editor – 1965, 1988, 1998
[[Sir Thomas More]] – from [The History of King Richard the Third] (written 1513-14, published 1557)
[[Raphael Holinshed]] – from [Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland], second edition (1587)
[[Charles Lamb]]
– Letter to Robert Lloyd (1801?)
– from an essay called Cooke’s Richard the Third (1802?)
– from On the Tragedies of Shakespeare, Considered with Reference to Their Fitness for Stage Representation (1811)
[[A. P. Rossiter]] – Angel with Horns: The Unity of Richard III (1961)
[[Robert Ornstein]] – Richard III - from [A Kingdom for the Stage: The Achievement of Shakespeare’s History Plays] (1972)
[[Coppélia Kahn]] – “Myself Alone”, Richard III and the Dissolution of Masculine Identity – from [Man’s Estate: Masculine Identity in Shakespeare] (1981)
[[Mark Eccles]] – Richard III on Stage and Screen

One of the great joys of casually reading through Shakespeare is having a personal experience of discovery like this play was. With one of the best openings, maybe the best opening of his plays, and one of his best written monologues, Richard III rants to us, privately exposing his demons and intelligence, and laying out his ruthless practical but flawed mindset. He doesn't stop there, meeting other characters, wooing (successfully!!) the widow of prince whose murder he himself took a hand in. And between each scene, alone on the stage, he has a wry comment for us alone. I wrote on Litsy, "Our murdering villain confides in us, opening his empty heart, generating a real stage-audience bond. Act I is riveting and funny and wonderful and this is easily one of my favorites from our #shakespearereadalong".

Causally stumbled across sources insist this was breakthrough play for Shakespeare, and it just makes so much sense. Three entertaining, but imperfect and plot-hobbled histories of Henry VI predate this. Plays that can be appreciated. But this opening is a wow, really on a different level. Maybe too powerful, as Richard III, loser to Tudor founder Henry VII at Bosworth Field in 1485, murderer of Edward VI's young sons and heirs (and another brother's younger children), is forever villainized by the impression left by this play. The real Richard was a sharp character, committed to England, undermined by ex-queen Margaret's family (key members of whom he also murdered), and eventually entangled in a losing power struggle. He was a villainized loser, his grave lost until it was found under a parking lot in 2012.

This dark play is designed to be fun on the stage. A well done Richard III should take over the show and, quite frankly, be funny. He's just so much more clever than everyone else. And he is always acting, except when confiding to us, and for a scrooge-like dream sequence with a collection of entertaining ghosts. It's a performance of a performance, transparent only to us. Lost in his shadow are some terrific female roles, his own mother lamenting his character, the queen, once Lady Gray, who is his sister-in-law, and the ex-queen, widow of Henry VI, Margaret, who does her own bit of scene stealing (and yet commonly gets edited out.) This is also one of Shakespeare's longest plays. Editors must work with it for any performance. But there aren't really any unnecessary parts. Remove some lines, and part of the impact is missing.

As I said on Litsy, easily one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and certainly my favorite of the English histories.

https://www.librarything.com/topic/330945#7546376 ( )
  dchaikin | Jul 3, 2021 |
Shakespeare's first no-qualifications, capital 'M' Masterpiece. ( )
  poirotketchup | Mar 18, 2021 |
As much as I’m a fan of historical fiction, Shakespeare’s interpretations seem to consistently do nothing but either piss me off or mildly bore me - Richard III being the former, as this story is nothing if not melodramatic. Overly so in a lot of ways, since Richard often comes off as an extreme case of a superficial villain what with his blatant asides about killing off literally everyone who doesn’t do what he wants (former allies are not excepted from this rule). Use, abuse, and then dispose seems to be his backing motto, and Shakespeare gives very little leeway from this theme in his almost-contemporary historical commentary. Obviously, those of us with some historical perspective (and who weren’t writing for the direct descendents of the Tudors who defeated Richard III at the finale of the Wars of the Roses) understand that the character of Richard of York is much more complex than he was portrayed by Shakespeare and other contemporaries, but this play still gives us an excellent example of just how much political propaganda was alive and well long before the modern day. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (84 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cartelli, ThomasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Day, GillianContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eccles, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Evans, G. BlakemoreEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gentleman, DavidDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, George B.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmberg, KalleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Honigmann, E.A.J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jowett, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamar, VirginiaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Newborn, Sashasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, M. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rossi, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schlegel, August Wilhelm vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, Louis B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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First words
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York,
And all the clouds that loured upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told.
True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings;

Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is for the complete King Richard III only. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or "simplifications" (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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Final play in Shakespeare's dramatization of the strife between the Houses of York and Lancaster. Richard is stunning archvillain who seduces, betrays and murders his way to the throne. Explanatory footnotes.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
This director's playbook contains the script of the play in wide format, with fifty square inches of blank space for sketching in ideas for each scene or part of scene, the main action, costumes, sets. Plus glossary for obscure words or references, separate sections to be filled in for director and staff, budget, timeline, program, publicity, pre-production, audition or casting, set design, costumes, props, lighting, sound, stage manager. 
The playbook is designed for high schools and colleges, but anyone with a budget, a cast and crew could benefit by keeping track of all the components needed for a theatrical production. Also, a link to customized scripts for all major roles. www.createspace.com/3962607
Eleven other Shakespeare plays are available in this unique format.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140714839, 0141013036

Yale University Press

An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.

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Sourcebooks MediaFusion

An edition of this book was published by Sourcebooks MediaFusion.

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