Richard III: A Ruthless King Essay

Richard III: A Ruthless King Essay

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Richard III is known to this day as a ruthless king, remaining infamous for his alleged murders and nefarious acts. There are many rumors surrounding his rule, telling stories of his horrid temperament and appearance, and how he unscrupulously killed anyone who might oppose his reign. But modern historians are taking another look at his history, and some say he was not as bad as the stories claimed. Despite Richard III’s notoriety and bloody rise to power, he served as a successful king of England because of his skill in battle, unyielding determination, and political prowess.
When Richard III was born on October 2, 1452, he had little expectation of rising to power, or ever becoming king. Richard was the youngest son of thirteen children, while the House of Lancaster was still in control of the throne. He was despised since birth, looked down on by his brothers , and, allegedly, ugly and disfigured. Legend of the day claimed that he spent two years in his mother’s womb, and had a full head of shoulder-length hair at birth . It was also rumored that Richard developed scoliosis, and, according to Shakespeare, looked like a “foul, hunch-back’d toad” . Whether these allegations were true or not, the young Richard would soon begin to prove his worth.
Richard was born against the background of the Wars of the Roses, a bloody conflict between two noble houses, the Lancastrians, and the Yorks, of which Richard was a member. Even at seventeen, Richard was given command over a division of the army , and began to gain recognition. He was known throughout the kingdom as a brave and hardy soldier, full of vigor and military intelligence . When his family succeeded in seizing the throne and his brother, Edward IV, became king, Richard was gi...

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... really committed all those murders is debatable. Certainty lies in his skill in battle, his determination and dedication, and his political prowess. Richard III should be remembered for these qualities just as much as for the murders and misdeeds for which he is currently assessed.


Balchin, Nigel. “Richard III,” in British History Illustrated, Vol. 1, no. 4 (October, 1974), pp. 29-47.

Beahrs, Virginia Oakley. “White Boar, Red Dragon,” in British Heritage, Vol. 6, no. 5 (August/September, 1985), pp. 46-57.

“Richard III (r. 1483-1485)”[
QueensofEngland/TheYorkists/RichardIII.aspx], 1/22/2014.

Ross, Charles. Richard III. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1981.

Shakespeare, William, Richard III. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine (eds.) New York: Washington Square Press, 1996.

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