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King Richard III (Naxos)

4.3 (1790)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | King Richard III (Naxos).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    William Shakespeare(Author) Simon Weir(Editor) Michael Maloney(Narrator)

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Richard III is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1591. The play is an unflattering depiction of the short reign of Richard III of England. While generally classified as a history, as grouped in the First Folio, the play is sometimes called a tragedy (as in the first quarto). It picks up the story from Henry VI, Part 3 and concludes the historical series that stretches back to Richard II. William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 – died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

"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

4.4 (7522)
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Review Text

  • By Sara Niña on 16 February 2016

    Saarah N's review Feb 16, 16Read from February 14 to 15, 2016I liked this, it's rare that I will ever read a play or even a classic: I lack the much-needed patience. In spite of this, I did enjoy it: I loved how Shakespeare presented Richard in a more intriguing way, albeit historically inaccurate since there is no evidence that it was Richard who murdered the princes, nor was it he, who murdered Henry VI.The assumptions this play is founded upon significantly reflect Thomas More's accounts and chronicles. His accounts held my attention in the same way. Perhaps I found this a compelling read because I was already knowledgeable of the context (England in the 15th century in its relativity to the Wars Of The Roses.) Therefore I will only recommend this to someone who wishes to explore an alternative view (to what we have gathered from historical records) as that will ensure you can progress through it with ease. Of course though, the language proves to be quite a barrier in and of itself. Consulting the kindle dictionary helped, which I definitely appreciated.I plan to consult this during my studies to consolidate my understanding of Richard's short reign, indeed it was helpful, comedic and insightful.

  • By TH on 23 February 2015

    I'd never studied this play before, and decided to answer an essay question on it about the use of humour. Well, the first time I read it, I didn't think there was any, but after having watched a couple of versions on DVD and read it again, it's actually got some really funny bits in (although I think they may have been funnier when they were first written!)Very good play, nice edition of the book.

  • By Mark Marsden on 29 July 2017

    Free kindle edition. What more can I say?

  • By samsung fan on 4 February 2013

    I considered this book as a fine work of art. We did Macbeth in school and so I understood the language used in this play.

  • By GJC on 10 October 2016

    “It is not possible to found a lasting power upon injustice, perjury, and treachery.”Demosthenes.Shakespeare’s Richard III would have done better had he heard these words. But then we would have had an average, mediocre, unremarkable play about the last Plantagenet King of England.The plot picks up were Henry VI Part 3 ends.Shakespeare opens his play with a speech from Richard, “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York.” Immediately, we understand Richard is manoeuvring to replace his brother on the throne, you can almost taste the venom towards his brother when he states, ‘this son’.It gets better. Richard now begins to court Anne, the widow of the Prince he murdered, not to mention he also assassinated her father-in-law, King Henry VI. The determination with which he woos Anne is incredible and he does it with simpering devotion, albeit, completely falsely. Yet she eventually falls for him! Shakespeare injects fantastic edgy banter between the two characters, it really is worth reading again. In the final Act, the ghosts of those murdered by Richard III appear on stage and friend as well as foe condemn him and lend their support to the opposition. Richard III had a greater army raised but lost the battle and towards the end uttered the much parodied words, “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse”. Indeed it was such a great line Shakespeare used it twice!Was Richard III really as bad as Shakespeare makes out? Probably not. Shakespeare was writing during the time of the Tudor dynasty, which replaced Richard III. There was little to be gained from exonerating Richard. Recent discoveries would indicate he was not the deformed monster we all thought. But what a villain, far be it that the truth should get in the way of a good story!Well done to the ardent fans that put this together and make it freely available on Kindle at no cost.For those who prefer to watch rather than read, Benedict Cumberbatch was excellent as Richard III in BBC’s 2016 “The Hollow Crown”.

  • By David Wisdom on 13 January 2011

    The last time I read any Shakespeare was in my teens and I did not really grasp it. Now as a pensioner with the time to sit down and concentrate I was completely gripped and amazed at the story and language. How Richard murderered and lied his way to grab the Throne,the cut and thrust of the conversations with his adversaries and his final come-uppance,is not a book to read in a hurry.It is written as a play,so must be read slowly and in a kind of rhythm,as a free download it is a must!

  • By Aralinya on 21 November 2015

    Arrived in good time, satisfied with purchase.

  • By Netgain on 11 June 2016

    Tried and tested literature. I read it before watching the Hollow Crown on BBC TV.

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