Shakespeare's "Richard the Third" Analytical Essay by Nicky

An analysis of Shakespeare's "Richard the Third" and modern interpretations of this play.
# 150828 | 814 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2012 | US

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The paper discusses Shakespeare's characterization of Richard III as a full embodiment of total and unapologetic evil and also notes the lack of ambiguity in this play that marks it as one of Shakespeare's early works. The paper looks at the modern film adaptation of "Richard the Third" starring Ian McKellan, and discusses it as a reinterpretation and reinvention of Shakespeare's work.

From the Paper:

"There is, of course, no lack of seriousness in the political effects of the play or the grief of the many characters that Richard wrongs on his way to the throne, but it is tempered throughout the script by Richard's sense of his own dastardliness, and his completely self-serving attitude. In the script, he does desire to not wield power simply or even primarily because he thrives on being in charge, but more because he thrives on being the center of attention. Though McKellan's performance of the part is highly watchable and even shows the delicious evilness of the character at some moments, the politicization of the plot weakens the sense of humor and selfishness that is such a fundamental part of Richard's character and the script. It certainly lets the film make a strong statement about modern politics and the similarities that exist between the leaders and beliefs of today's governments and those that existed in the supposedly more ruthless time of the Plantagenets and Tudors (and Stuarts, though later). But this reinterpretation and reinvention of Shakespeare necessarily loses something of the original flavor of the Bard's work."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Barton, Anne. "The London Scene: The City and the Court." The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare. New York: Cambridge University Press 2001.
  • Evans, G. Blakemore and M. Tobin, eds. The Riverside Shakespeare. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
  • Grady, Hugh. "Shakespeare Criticism: 1600-1900." The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare. New York: Cambridge University Press 2001.
  • Shakespeare, William. Richard the Third. in The Riverside Shakespeare.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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Shakespeare's "Richard the Third" (2012, April 26) Retrieved June 09, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Shakespeare's "Richard the Third"" 26 April 2012. Web. 09 June. 2023. <>