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King Richard III Summary
William Shakespeare

Everything you need to understand or teach King Richard III by William Shakespeare.

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King Richard III Summary


Although Richard III was first published in 1597, most scholars believe that this play about the rise and fall of a wicked king was written several years earlier, probably in 1592 or 1593, and first performed shortly afterward. Evidence shows that it was popular from the beginning: The Elizabethan actor Richard Burbage achieved distinction playing Richard III, and the character's final line—"A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" —was already famous by the early 1600s when Richard Corbet (1618 or 1621) wrote a poem about the play. It is also believed that Elizabethan audiences would have appreciated the patriotic speech given by Richmond (who becomes King Henry VII) in the last act.

Early critical assessment of Richard III was mixed. Sir William Cornwallis (1600) and William Winstanley (1660), for example, objected to Shakespeare's portrayal of King Richard as "a monster." In contrast, poet John Milton (1650) argued that the character in the...

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King Richard III Study Guide

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King Richard III Lesson Plans contain 131 pages of teaching material, including:

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