Richard III is Shakespeare’s probing of unrepentant evil. In this play, the beauty of Shakespeare’s language combines with his psychological probing to develop one of the most complex and riveting portraits of human agony turned into action. As literary critic Marjorie Garber points out: “Shakespeare’s Richard III is arguably the first fully realized and psychologically conceived character in his plays.” As an audience, we are fascinated by how raw power is socially channeled into manipulation and revenge—perhaps we learn more from the study of misbehavior than we do studying those who behave in morally acceptable ways. Richard III is the ancestor to many of our popular villains: his masterful wielding of language offers a thinking villain who will ask us to reflect on our own structures of truth and moral behavior.
I, that am rudely stamp’d and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deform’d, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them
As with the other Shakespearian plays, for this one evening intensive study we will read aloud significant passages, working to access the tone of performance that is so vital to understanding the plays. We will also view portions of various filmed productions.
If you would like to request this study or have any questions about it, please contact us.