2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

Richard III: Historical Interpretation or Political Dramatization?
Matt Barkofske
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Richard of Gloucester - the protagonist and antagonist of King Richard III - is portrayed as a ruthless character. Shakespeare's play shows how Richard manipulates and murders all for power and personal fulfillment, with his physically deformed outward appearance constantly reflecting his inward ugliness. However, this play was written during the reign of the Tudors, who had recently regained their throne, and therefore Shakespeare gives the work a highly anti-treachery message. Critic Rainolde notes that although the Elizabethan audience would have been familiar with the deformed and cruel nature of Richard they had been told of by the current monarchy, theatergoers may still have been "surprised by how ill shaped Shakespeare's Richard is and by how much everyone carries on about it". This essay examines how the title character is presented in the play, how the political climate influenced Shakespeare, and the efforts by the Richard III Society and others to create a more unbiased representation of the historical figure.

Keywords: Shakespeare, Tudors, Richard III Society, King Richard III


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 301-4
Location: MG 1000
Time: 1:45

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