Shakespeare’s Richard III play is set in England in the period leading up to and during the reign of Richard III, 1483 – 1485, in London, in Salisbury,  in a camp near Tamworth, and at Bosworth Field near Leicester. See map of Richard III settings

Date written: 1591

Genre classificationRichard III is a History Play.

Main characters in Richard III: King Edward IV

Elizabeth, Queen of King Edward the Fourth

Edward, Prince of Wales; afterward King Edward the Fifth, & Richard, Duke of York, Sons to the King

George, Duke of Clarence, & Richard, Duke of Gloucester, afterward King Richard III, Brothers to the King

Duchess of york, Mother to King Edward the Fourth, Clarence, and Gloucester

Margaret, Widow of King Henry the Sixth

A young Son of Clarence

Henry, Earl of Richmond; afterward King Henry the Seventh

Cardinal bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury

Thomas Rotherham, Archbishop of York

John Morton, Bishop of Ely

Duke of Buckingham

Duke of Norfolk

Lady Anne, Widow of Edward, Prince of Wales, Son to King Henry the Sixth; afterward married to the Duke of Gloucester. See a full list of characters in Richard III.

Richard III themes: Ambition has horrific consequences. Richard is even more ambitious than Macbeth and commits even more horrific crimes but suffers no remorse.

Another theme is deception and what it can achieve, in this case, the desired outcome for its perpetrator.  Once again, we see in Shakespeare that ubiquitous theme of appearance and reality. Pure evil has no conscience – it’s entirely practical.

Richard III played by Lawrence Olivier

Lawrence Olivier on-screen as Richard III

2 replies
  1. Phil
    Phil says:

    In the left hand column of plays, Richard II and Richard III point to the wrong plays. That is, if you click on Richard II you get the summary for Richard III, and vice versa!


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