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Richard III

            Tudor propaganda created a monster and named him Richard.
             odious career began before birth, where he skulked in his mother's.
             womb for two years. Born with teeth and shoulder-length hair, he.
             quickly grew into a misshapen figure whose hunchback and withered.
             arm mirrored his evil heart. He murdered all who stood in his way and.
             pursued a vendetta against his sister-in-law Elizabeth Woodville and.
             her ambitious brothers.
             It was this monster, a fiction generated by Tudor historians to.
             legitimise the reign of Henry VII and the Tudor dynasty, which fired.
             Shakespeare's imagination. What sort of play did Shakespeare create?.
             One way of thinking about the drama is to see it as Shakespeare's tale.
             of the rise and fall of a man who will stop at nothing to become king.
             It is a reminder of the medieval idea of the Wheel of Fortune and the.
             blind goddess Fortuna.
             That rise-fall pattern is clearly seen in King Richard III. In the first.
             three acts a charismatic Richard successfully removes anyone who.
             stands in his way to kingship. Playing a variety of roles with malicious.
             enjoyment, he is finally offered the crown. Yet this moment of greatest.
             triumph heralds his downturn in fortune.
             Within this structure, with its multiplicity of characters and.
             episodes, Richard is always at the centre of attention, even when not.
             on stage. There is no subplot or conventional romantic interest, for all.
             events are part of Richard's rise and fall.
             The play is a searching examination of power politics, but it is also.
             an intense exploration of the nature of crime and punishment, as.
             individuals are forced to confront past deeds. Some critics see the play.
             as Shakespeare's dramatic interrogation of the Tudor myth (see pages.
             58 and 90), the final working out of the consequences of the seizure.
             of the throne by Henry IV over eighty years before the play opens.
             Those events are dramatised in the plays that precede King Richard III.
             What follows is a brief summary of some of those events that will help.

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