Richard III Summary

III, written by William Shakespeare, is a play that surrounds the setting of a long civil war period. Richard who is the Duke of Gloucester is unhappy about his current position. He informs his audience that Edward had became king of England after a civil war session between the Yorks and Lancasters. Despite the fact that his brother and his family had been victorious, he is still very sullen because of his hunchback appearance and zero love life activities that he has none to share with. He then amuses his audience into a little secret that he has and have them believing that he has an evil-genius idea which can help him overthrow the current king, leaving him to place his hands on the throne. Richard obviously has his work cut down and, hence he does not waste much time.

He first approaches George who is his brother and also the Duke of Clarence. George is next in line for the throne, so Richard chooses him as the scapegoat so to use to clear out the way for the throne. He goes to the King and tells him a made up prophecy that his lineage and heirs of his family will all be murdered by a family member whose name starts with G. Convinced by the manipulation, Edward sends out his men to get hold of George and accuses him for treason, putting him in jail. No one suspects Richard although his title, the Duke of Gloucester, should have made him a suspect as well.

Next, he targets Lady Anne, the widow of the late Prince Edward and daughter-in-law of the Late King Henry. Even though he had initially suggested to his audience that he will play no politics with women, that intention seems to have gone down in drains a long time ago. Now, He wants to marry lady Anne so that he can use his position as her husband a political strategy. Lady Anne is aware that Richard is the person behind the murders of her husband and father-in-law but she is still convinced at her in-law’s funeral by Richard for her hand in marriage. Also, in the process of convincing and almost seducing Lady Anne, he is seen to be normal and not so deformed as he had been before. So, to the audience it is clear that Richard is very deceptive and can do anything to earn his means. If he can lie about his hunchback, it is crystal clear that he is able to harm others just for his selfish measure. We have already seen how he had betrayed his own brother.

Having Lady Anne in his own grip, his next target is the Duke of Clarence who stands in the way of him and his throne. Richard appoints assassins to kill the Duke of Clarence, who then set out to the tower of London where they stab Clarence to death. His body is dumped in a stash of wine, so that nobody can find his body anytime soon. The current King, who has been ill for quite a while, gets more ill after hearing about his brother’s death. He becomes frail and turns out to be too weak to act out the duties of a king. When he finally dies, the immediate throne goes to his son, the young prince Edward, but since he is not yet of age, Richard becomes the Lord protector of the kingdom. This means that he will be performing all the deeds of a king until the Prince is of age and can take his rights as a king. In other words, Richard is the king without the title of the king until the prince is of age.

Richard is still not pleased with what he has gotten. He wants the power of the crown all to himself forever and not for a limited period of time. Even in his plot to overthrow the king, he had found out that there are a lot of people who are very fond of the late king and the prince and they have their loyalties served towards them. Breaking this loyalty would be a heavier task for Richard since he will not be able to convince people to act against the prince at this state. Richard then comes up with a gruesome plan- he captures the other two princes who are the rightful heirs of the throne after the first prince and also holds captive some of his own relatives. Some of the family members and relatives who were captured are killed in the Tower of London and the people are convinced that that this had been done for their own protection. Most of the captivated relatives come from the mother’s side of the family and have been trapped to make sure that there are no enemies in the making. With the help of his trusted accomplice, Richard starts a campaign amongst people for their support to him for the throne while showing that he has no special interest in it other than for keeping the hearts of people. Eventually, he gets the crown to himself and he shows people that they are lucky to have him as king and that he will bestow proper justice on them.

But is Richard happy now that he finally has the throne all to himself? No. He goes on and orders his wingman to kill the captive Princes since he does not wish to have people coming to claim their blood rights to the throne later on. Buckingham, being shocked by the orders of killing children, becomes nervous and wants out of this. Agitated by the conditions of his accomplice, he then hires a professional hit man who will not flinch at killing children in his job. The killer, Tyrell, finds two people who then suffocate the Princes in their sleep. Because Buckingham had failed to carry out the orders, Richard blacklists Buckingham as his enemy and prepares for his death.

In the meantime, the Earl of Richmond is preparing for his troops to blast into England with his allies in France to take Richard down. At the same time, the common people of England have witnessed the true version of Richard’s personality and his deeds. Honestly, they have had enough of it. In addition to this, even Richard’s mother who is the Duchess of York condemns Richard to hell and wishes him death, turning her back completely against her own son. Richard even after hearing his mother’s words does not flinch for a bit. His love for his crown is bigger than anything and his intentions for it can push him to do almost anything. He couldn’t care any more than this about his mother but he fears that he may be kicked off his throne at any time. So he decides to get a new wife with whom the family ties will be strong enough for him to hold on to the crown. This means that he needs to abandon the current one, Lady Anne. He starts to stir something up against her and plots to spread rumors by saying that she has been ill for a long time while in reality he has her killed. Richard targets his sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, and tries to convince her into giving her young daughter, Elizabeth, to him in marriage. Young Elizabeth was, indeed, his niece and also the sister of all the princes he has had murdered so shamelessly.

The audience, at this moment, is no longer surprised at this. Also, his initial interactions with the audience are now entirely lost as he no longer communicates with them. Queen Elizabeth, aware of what Richard and his not-so-supportive character display, tells him that it might be possible while secretly arranging the young princess's hand with Richmond who plans to take over England. Richmond is a great threat for Richard at this point and he realizes that it is about time that this threat is taken seriously if he wants to hold on to his dear crown. He assembles an army and places them at the field of Bosworth, ready to take on the wave that Richmond is about to bring to him. Richard stays up all night to plan a good strategy against Richmond to stop him from invading England. However, it was very evident that Richard only has the thirst for the throne but not the wits to keep it. While plotting his plan, Richard falls asleep and starts to see ridiculous nightmares. In the nightmares, he keeps seeing the ghosts of all his murdered victims and they are tell him that his time is really over. When he wakes up, he realizes that it is the world against him and that there is nothing he can do about it. Richmond soon conquers the land and Richard is left dead on the battlefield.