Richard III has been part of the minor tetralogy of English dramatic history. It is part of the conclusion of the chronicles started by the Henry plays of Shakespeare.
The first one of the Henry plays was Henry VI: Part I which then moved on to Henry VI: Part II and then to Henry VI: Part III. Richard III has thus been one of the last four tragedies by Shakespeare. The play culminates in the defeat of King Richard III at the battlefield of Bosworth. It is a dramatic persona of the actual incident of King Richard III. The events that took place about a century before Shakespeare presented his work to the Elizabethan audience.
The Elizabethan play goers were particularly fascinated by the ready identification of the varied political sects and their complex family structure.
There have been previous depictions of the lineage through the different parts of Henry VI. Today’s readers of today would mostly not be immediately familiar with the contexts discussed in these plays without doing some research into history.
The play Richard III is dominated by the character, Richard “hunchback” Duke of Gloucester. He is the one who ultimately becomes Richard III. The work coins much melodrama within the historical context and brings out the character of Richard III who is a purely self-indulgent and pompously bleak character. His evil tenure finally gets called to an end with his defeat at the hands of Duke of Richmond, who later came to be Henry VII. One of the most important critics of English literature, E. M. W. Tillyard, has examined the themes of divine retribution and deliverance present in Richard III.
Other critics have also poignantly seen the intense mix of the historical facts with the dramatic persona along with the steady unraveling of Richard III’s character. The play works through his sense of causes and effects of his isolation through the course of the plot along with the intertwining of the dark, comic materials. There have been several psychological themes and analysis that have been studied through the characteristic analysis of Richard III. From the very beginning he comes out to be measured and careful.
The wooing scene in which Richard III appeals to Lady Anne’s emotions and vanity, has been one of the most prominent ones, to apply into the overall lead to the strata of psychological practice within Richard III’s study. His character is powerfully crafted and he has layers of darkness. But all of these come to the part of control and brutal lust than fortifying any ambition for glory or even expansion of his political career.
He has characteristic wittiness along with the presence of dramatic irony and inversion.