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Richard III [Paperback]

William Shakespeare , Harold Bloom , Professor Burton Raffel
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 22 2008 0300122020 978-0300122022

Treacherous, power-hungry, untempered by moral restraint, and embittered by physical deformity, Richard, the younger brother of King Edward IV, is ablaze with ambition to take England’s throne. Richard III, Shakespeare’s long chronicle of Richard’s machinations to be king, is a tale of murder upon murder. He gains the throne, but only briefly. In a terrible dream, the ghosts of his victims visit the now-despised monarch to foretell his demise. Richard's death in battle the next day concludes his reign of evil, ushering in at last a new and hopeful era of peace for England. 

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From Amazon

"Now is the winter of our discontent," intones Richard, Duke of Gloucester at the beginning of Shakespeare's Richard III, one of his most abidingly popular plays, and one of the most chilling portrayals of political tyranny ever seen on stage. Richard emerges from the chaos which surrounds the reign of Henry VI, already dramatised by Shakespeare earlier in his career, determined to become king by removing his elder brother Edward IV by convincing him that their brother Clarence is plotting against the crown. The deaths of both Clarence and Edward take Richard inexorably towards the crown, and the series of murders and conspiracies that Richard masterminds confirms his claim that "I am determined to prove a villain". Richard's political and sexual charisma are truly chilling, and his seduction of Lady Anne, over her husband's corpse is one of the most disturbing scenes in Shakespeare. At another level, the play is also a strongly anti-Yorkist play, which has a vested interest in portraying Richard as such as vicious tyrant before seeing him toppled, ushering in a period of rule which prefigured the Tudor dynasty of which Elizabeth I was herself a part. The play has had a deep and lasting influence on audiences and writers; Brecht rewrote the play as The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, while both Laurance Olivier and Ian Mckellen have produced memorable film versions of Richard III, the latter updating the play into a 1930s fascist state ruled over by a Richard akin to Oswald Mosley. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Thanks to the recent film version, Richard is again a hot property. This Dover Thrift edition is the most economical way to stock extra copies.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York, And all the clouds that loured upon our house In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A real bad guy March 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This historical drama, not exactly accurate for all I know (but who cares, it's Billy) depicts one of the best bad guys in all literature, to the point of caricature (and this rhymes!). Richard III is the impersonation of ugliness and pure evil: he is a man both morally and physically malformed, who gives everything for the sake of a vain and insignificant moment of power. He is pure rancour enveloped in hypocrisy and treason. He kills his relatives, including his two child nephews, then he marries his rival's widow, and finally he gets what he deserves screaming: "A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"
"Richard III" is a wonderful satire; as always with WS, the dialogues are perfect and the action supreme. It is not intended to be real history, but a satire of ambition run amok, of the lonely obsession for power and of the depths of evil which humans can reach. It has humorous moments and it was, in its times, good politics, since Richard belonged to the predecessors in power of Queen Elizabeth's family . Another masterpiece by the Bard.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Devilishly Delightful Feb. 9 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having never read Richard III, I knew that I would be in for a treat, but nothing quite THIS good. Originally labeled as The Tragedy of Richard III by Shakespeare, one can see, upon reading this enthralling play, why this history/tragedy firmly entrenched itself as one of The Bard's most prolifically performed plays with almost unrivaled longevity due to its immense popularity among the genteel and yeomen alike.
Although the much-maligned humpback King Richard was by no means a saint by any stretch, he was not, however, as wretchedly insidious as Shakespeare might have us believe. In an effort to pander to Queen Elizabeth, Shakespeare cast perhaps an overly morose shadow over the House of York. The play itself, interestingly enough, focuses not so much on the bloody ending of The War of Roses and the ascension to the throne of Henry VII(the grandfather of Elizabeth) as it does on the uncannily cunning connivances of Richard III. Richard's dastardly deeds, the sordid means to his end of usurping the crown, know no limits as he murders any and all who dare get in his way - and even those that don't(I suppose they're guilty by association).
Inextricably, although I by no means empathize with him even remotely, Richard somehow, despite his inordinately decadent reprobate ploys, coupled with his twisted soliloquies pleading to the audience his hopeless case, make him one entirely enigmatic, yet entirely captivating, antagonist that makes this play enticingly enjoyable -- in a most devilish kind of way.
"O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!"
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4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect dramatic villain Feb. 11 2002
By A.J.
"Richard III" is a fun play. It has some great lines like "True hope is swift and flies with swallow's wings/Kings it makes gods and meaner creatures kings" (not said by the title character, though) and of course "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!", the line that committed many men to the Richard III ward of Monty Python's Hospital for Overacting. But it also showcases the life and times of one of the meanest men ever to hit the stage: Richard, Duke of Gloucester, unlawful heir to the throne of England.
Richard's outward appearance is unfortunate -- he has a crooked back, is unlucky in love, and dogs bark at him -- but it's his inward personality that makes him unpleasant. He's cruel, selfish, manipulative, hot-tempered -- for dramatic purposes, he makes the perfect villain. Nobody seems to like him except his cronies Catesby and Buckingham, and even Buckingham later turns against him; even his own mother despises him after she figures out what a rat he is. On the other hand, he has all the positive qualities of a fighting underdog: Rather than wallow in self-pity over his deformity, he's decisive, fearless, and motivated. Only in the last act, when he realizes that he does indeed have a "coward conscience," does his confidence begin to falter.
Richard tells the audience in the very first scene what kind of guy he is and what he's planning to do, which is ultimately to become King of England, the office held currently by his brother Edward IV. To do this, he must arrange for the deaths of his brother George the Duke of Clarence, King Edward's sons, the Lord Chamberlain, and Buckingham, done by simply dispatching his henchmen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When good is evil and vice versa Jan. 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This play by Shakespeare is a fundamental achievement in drama. The main character is shown as evil but at the same time, if one can read properly and see all the details, he is the one who finally establishes the principle that the English king has to be accepted at least if not selected by the representative of the City of London, hence establishing the « constitutional » or « parliamentary » nature of the English Crown. It also establishes the fact that a bad king must give way to a good one, that it is a moral duty for everyone to fight against a bad king. We are miles away from the feudal acceptance of the king as the direct representative of God on earth and against whom all rebellion is unacceptable. The play builds up this moral resistance against the bad king little by little and makes it irreversible. Here we really touch the historical value of this king : he is a complete turning point in the English monarchy : the king has to accept being scrutinized and criticized by all the representatives of civil society, even if, for a time at least, these can be lured and cheated. Sooner or later good will prevail. This is Shakespeare's fundamental belief that tragedy comes from the disruption of a balanced situation by some crime and finds its resolution in the rebalancing of the situation by the elimination of the bad ones and the coming to the front of a new generation of good ones. The value of this belief in our present world is fundamental and essential.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars FIRST MURDERER Remember our reward, when the deed's done
SECOND MURDER Zounds, he dies: I had forgot the reward.

There is no good place to start on the play "The Tragedy of Richard III" by Shakespeare without having spoilers. Read more
Published 12 months ago by bernie
3.0 out of 5 stars Hunchback King
Book was written in the old english grammar and you need to understand when it was written, for whom it was written, and why it was written,meaning time line and age of... Read more
Published 23 months ago by fileman
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid the book. Go to the theatre.
Shakespeare's plays were meant to be enjoyed in a theatre. Reading his scripts is difficult and clumsy at best and the only reason I own this book is that I had to buy it for a... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2012 by David Sabine
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not his best.
Let's get one thing clear from the start: when I rate Shakespeare, I rate it against other Shakespeare; otherwise, the consistently high ratings would not be very informative. Read more
Published on March 21 2003 by James Yanni
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different Perspective on Richard
Shakespeare got away with this play because he is critical of two monastic houses that were no longer in power when he lived. Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2003 by J. Rockwell
3.0 out of 5 stars now is the winter of our discontent...
someone said that three good scenes and you have a good movie, and the same might be said of a play. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit over the top, but well done!
Stephens is a bit much as Richard (does he have to yell so often?) but the supporting cast, with Michael York in a multitude of roles, Dame Peggy Ashcroft as Margaret, Glenda... Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2000 by meiringen
5.0 out of 5 stars Cambridge (Lull) edition one of the best intros.
This edition has one of the best introductions I've read: informative, well-written and with photos from productions of R III. Read more
Published on July 12 2000 by Dr. Richard D. Feinman
5.0 out of 5 stars Woa.
I'm a Ricardian, but I love this play--it's Shakespare at his finest. He manipulates the historical characters beautifully, especially Richard himself (and Richard then... Read more
Published on May 5 2000 by Malice
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