Richard the third is cruel, manipulative, cold hearted and corrupt; however we really ought to mention his bad aspects. Richard the third displays all of the qualities of a true ‘baddie’ yet he still succeeds in providing the audience with great entertainment and humour. The way he forces the audience to be co-conspirators partly by using clever soliloquies, which are directed specifically to include the audience in his plans but also by showing the audience full spectrum of his roles, he succeeds in appearing to be a kind hearted man, bidding his brother farewell in one seen and in another plotting his death.
One key thing to note when Richard addresses the audience is the great humour he uses. He is able to laugh at the death of his two nephews and is intrigued to know more, he also takes it upon him to marry the women whose husband and father he had murdered. He thinks of it as a challenge and when he addresses the audience in act I scene 1,
‘…I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest daughter. What though I killed her husband and her father? The readiest way to make the wench amends Is to become her husband and her father, The which will I – not all so much for love As for another secret close intent By marrying her which I must reach unto, But yet I run before my horse to market: Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns; When they are gone, then must I count my gains.’ This is one such example of the great wit and bravado shown by Richard.
Richard has many different characteristics: from being the pungent, repellent arrogant commander; to being the witty jester that we can’t help but adore. He can be a great leader, which is shown in his oration to his troops and can be greatly cunning in order to achieve his goals. One may be deceived by his outwardly appearance however Richard is certainly not disabled on the inside. He is a very intelligent man whose planning and acting is that of a true ‘baddie’.
Richard the Third is about a lot more than a tale of an evil man. It is quite clearly a piece of pro-Tudor propaganda. At the time when Shakespeare wrote the play Elizabeth 1st was on the thrown. She was a direct descendant of Henry 7th (Richmond), and so it would do Shakespeare no harm at all if he were to depict the Monarch’s Ancestor as being a great mad who fought against evil and succeeded. The play also covers an important political issue, ‘ can a tyrannical king be removed’. In the time the play was set the common thought was that God had delivered the king and so therefore it would be deeply wrong to overthrow a king, be he evil or good. The play really resolved this issue and it is clear to see which viewpoint Shakespeare had.