Henry VI, Part 3

Back to List of Characters

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester)

Richard III, also known as the Duke of Gloucester, is a captivating and complex character in William Shakespeare's play, Henry VI, Part 3. This historical tragedy delves into the tumultuous events of the Wars of the Roses, where Richard III plays a pivotal role.

Richard, the youngest son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, is portrayed as a cunning and ambitious individual. He is physically deformed, with a hunched back, and uses his sharp wit and intelligence to compensate for his physical shortcomings. Throughout the play, Richard IIIs thirst for power and his relentless quest to claim the English throne is a driving force behind his actions.

One of the most memorable aspects of Richard III is his skillful manipulation and manipulation of those around him. He is a master of deceit and deception, constantly scheming and plotting to eliminate his enemies and secure his position of power. Richard IIIs soliloquies are particularly captivating, as he reveals his true thoughts and intentions to the audience, while maintaining a facade of loyalty and righteousness to those around him.

The Rise to Power

Richard IIIs journey to power is a treacherous one. He orchestrates the downfall of his own family members, including his brother George, Duke of Clarence, and his nephews, the young Princes in the Tower. Richard IIIs manipulation of Queen Anne, the widow of King Henry VI, and his marriage to her after the death of her husband, further solidifies his claim to the throne.

As Richard III ascends to the throne, he becomes increasingly tyrannical and ruthless. He orders the execution of those who stand in his way, including Lord Hastings and his own wife, Queen Anne. Richard IIIs reign is marked by fear and uncertainty, as he eliminates anyone who poses a threat to his power.

The Downfall

Despite his cunning and manipulative nature, Richard IIIs reign is short-lived. His tyranny and disregard for human life earn him the anger and opposition of the noble houses of England. The Earl of Richmond, later known as Henry VII, leads a rebellion against Richard III, culminating in the infamous Battle of Bosworth Field.

In the climactic battle, Richard III is faced with his own mortality. His confidence and arrogance are shattered as he realizes that his allies have abandoned him. Richard III fights valiantly on the battlefield but is ultimately defeated by Richmond. This marks the end of Richard IIIs reign and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty.

Richard III is a captivating and enigmatic character, portrayed with depth and complexity by Shakespeare. His relentless pursuit of power, his manipulation of those around him, and his eventual downfall make him a memorable figure in literature. Whether loved or hated, Richard III leaves a lasting impression on audiences, as they witness the tragic consequences of unchecked ambition and treachery.