Richard the Third as a Hero or a Villain

Richard the Third as a Hero or a Villain

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A hero is a man who is distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility
and strength to carry out tasks that are involving great risks. A hero
can also be a person who fights for other people to help or save them
from their fears. He opposes the villain- a person who does wicked or
evil intentionally to harm others in some way, emotionally or
physically. A character that is placed to do badly. He is always
opposing the hero to overthrow the hero’s qualities to gain power from
the other side to help him or his side.


Richard is seen as a villain in some aspects because he kills anyone
who stands in his way. Richard talks about a pretext for his villainy
by pointing out his physical deformity. “Why, I in this weak piping
time of peace. Have no delight to pass away the time unless to spy my
shadow in the sun and descant on mine own deformity. And therefore
since I cannot prove a lover to entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of
these days.” He says that since he was not made to be a lover, he has
no use for peace, and will willingly destroy peace with his crimes.
This contributes to a very villainous role.

Richard begins his movement for the throne. He manipulates Lady Anne,
into marrying him, even though she knows that he murdered her first
husband. He has his own older brother, Clarence, executed, and shifts
the burden of guilt onto his sick older brother King Edward.

He is eager to get the throne and he kills an enormous amount of
people to get there: King Edward. Court noblemen, Lord Hastings,
kinsmen of Edward, Queen Elizabeth, the two young princes and Queen
Anne. These people were killed because he needed to get the throne for
his greed. Only a villain would commit these crimes for his greed.

Richard is disloyal by betrayal of close family, friends and

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This quote explains how he betrayed most loyal to him:

Me thoughts that I had broken from the Tower,
And was embarked to cross to Burgundy,
And in my company my brother Gloucester,

Me thought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling
Struck me—that thought to stay him—overboard
Into the tumbling billows of the main.

Clarence announces this speech shortly before the murderers come to
kill him in the tower. Clarence says that he dreamed he escaped from
the tower and fled with Richard (Gloucester) to France, but on the
ship, Richard betrayed him and cast him overboard to drown. This is
the first of several visionary dreams in the play, and it adds to our
sense that supernatural forces are at work driving the plot.
Clarence’s dream predicted his pending death, as well as the fact that
he will be drowned (in a barrel of wine). Psychologically, the speech
is interesting because it reveals the depth of Clarence’s trust for
Richard. Rather than take this strikingly visionary dream in which
Richard betrays and kills him as a sign, Clarence refuses to credit
the idea that Richard wishes him dead.

Richard also betrays Clarence in act one scene one as Clarence
believes that Richard is his closest friend and his blood brother. He
thinks that he can trust Richard with any piece of information. When
Clarence enters the room when Richard has been in soliloquy Clarence
mentions the word ‘safety’ as he thought Richard his closest friend
and blood brother will not sentence him to the tower, Clarence says
“tend’ring my persons safety…” here Clarence is signifying that he is
not safe, but he has been sentenced to go to the tower, he is
questioning Richard about that as he is very confused about why has
Richard followed these disastrous actions. Clarence was not expecting
this. This grievously shows that he is disloyal and two faced to his

When Richard plans to put Clarence in prison, he is taking the
villainous side and he is doing this for no approved reason, he makes
up reasons and he expects people to follow on about them. He is a
traitor to his best friends and his own blood. He is too determined to
get the throne, he is very stubborn and has a one track mind about the
things he wants done, and again this is an act of disloyalty and of
being two faced.

When Richard claims that his deformity is the cause of his wicked
ways, he seems to be manipulating us for sympathy, just as he
manipulates the other characters throughout the play. As a result,
Richard III does not explore the cause of evil in the human mind so
much as it explores its operation, depicting the workings of Richard’s
mind and the methods he uses to manipulate, control, and injure others
for his own gain. Central to this aspect of the play is the idea that
Richard’s victims are complicit in their own destruction. Just as Lady
Anne allows herself to be seduced by Richard, even knowing that he
will kill her, other characters allow themselves to be taken in by his
allure and overlook his dishonesty and violent behavior. This tendency
is echoed in Richard’s relationship with the audience for much of the
play. Even though the audience is likely to be disgusted by Richard’s
actions, his happy, brilliant, revealing monologues cause most of the
audience to like him and even hope that he will succeed despite his
obvious malice.

In act one Richard shows his thoughts and actions in his soliloquy to
the audience, which he shows that he is planning to kill his true
brother Clarence to secure his position on the throne to be king, he
is being evil by killing his brother and making sure he is going to
receive the throne but he is going through great difficulty to achieve
this, he is determined to get the throne from his own family.

When Prince Edward and the duke of York are sent to the tower by
Richard, Richard seems heroic as he has full power of the people that
stand in his way. This happens in act three scene one. Richard feels
very powerful when he sends people to the towers who are obstructing
his way. When the young prince does not want to go to the tower,
Richard forces him to believing him that it will be better for him and
he should trust him for that. “I do not like the Tower of any place….”
He is rebelling against Richard and because Richard has a lot of pride
in him he does not like it that a person with les authority than him
and a lower reputation is saying this to him. He gets annoyed by this.
From the quote you can tell that the young prince did not want to
trust Richard with his word but had no choice but have to, he is being
unfair to the ones he should be respecting.

Richard has deep skill and talent in manipulating the characters mind
and thoughts of what he wants them to think of. He is an expert at
stirring up situations that will cause the ones in his path to die.
This is very necessary but he did not want to do this. The audience
would think it is interesting to see how far he succeeds with all the
trouble he goes through just to get the throne and then be over throne
in a battle. Richard has killed many loved ones and he has not had any
sympathy on the young either as he is extremely obstinate about his
views, this is another villainous role which is also showing
determination in a different way.

We can quickly tell that it becomes apparent, however, that Richard
simply uses his deformity as a tool to gain the sympathy of
others—including us. Richard’s evil is a much more innate part of his
character than simple bitterness about his ugly body. But he uses this
speech to win our trust, and he repeats this plot throughout his
struggle to be crowned king. After he is crowned king and Richmond
begins his uprising, Richard’s monologues end. Once Richard stops
exerting his charm on the audience, his real nature becomes much more
apparent, and by the end of the play he can be seen for the monster
that he is.

Also Queen Elizabeth’s relatives are taken to execution as he did not
want them around to take the throne, if her relatives got the throne,
Richard would not get the throne because as the princes grow older,
their next generations would seize the throne after them so Richard
thought carefully about the future and he knew that if he did not get
closer to the throne, he will never be as close as this to redeeming
the throne for himself. “ah, so much interest I have in thy sorrow as
I had title in thy noble husband”, this quote signifies she has lost
her husband and Richard is planning to separate all of her family
apart to capture the throne as the royals will be next in line he
needs to be in the place of them. “I have bewept a worthy husbands
death” she is very sad and upset about the death of her husband which
is causing her great discomfort. Richard is manipulating the scene by
agreeing with Buckingham (his ally) to crown the young prince Edward
as soon as possible. Richard has already thought of a plan to make
sure the next king is not going to reach the throne; this is how he is
very manipulative in his ways to see that he gets his way and others
ways are changed to suit him, all of it revolves around Richard and
how hard he is trying to get his way.


Richard show great determination by killing everyone who stands in his
path, but this also could be seen as an act of evil. In some parts of
the play, Richard makes us re-consider what a hero or a villain is as
he is taking up both roles to get in one place; he does not want to
cause harm but is forced to by others who stand in his path to his
dream which he desires very much. He is the person who will do
anything for the place he wants to get. He cannot accept that he is
trying too hard to get in that place. He is overpowering people who
confront him and the people who do not go along with his ideas of
being steps closer for him to receive the throne, he is extremely
patronizing about the heinous actions he takes, and he is doing it for
a cause and a specified reason. He does not want to kill people as a
leisurely activity; he does it because he has to.

In Act 1, Richard is talking to himself about killing many people that
are in the way of his desire…getting the throne. These people that he
is planning to kill or arranged to be killed, are all in the way of
him becoming king, or are making his situation ‘uncomfortable’.
Richard is very evil and devil like. If his plan is successful he will
then rule the country. If he is ruler, his plan is to ruin the
country. To achieve this goal of his, he is being very nice to
everyone and is acting innocent. This will help him build up people on
his side, which will slowly enlarge his good company. This also shows
that in his speech he is determined to do what he wants, this is how
he has a one track mind.

Richard says that his older brother, King Edward IV, now sits on the
throne, and everyone around Richard is involved in celebration. But
Richard will not join in the celebrations. He complains that he was
born deformed and ugly, and bitterly grieves his bad luck. He vows to
make everybody around him miserable as well. Moreover, Richard says,
he is power-hungry, and seeks to gain control over the entire court.
He implies that his ultimate goal is to make himself king. He seeks
leadership to become king and he “needs” the throne. He craves for
power now that his brother has got power; he wants to be higher than
his brother.

The dream that Richard encounters shows that he dreams will the
spirits of everyone whom Richard has murdered this comes across the
stage. Each ghost stops to speak to Richard. Each condemns him
bitterly for his or her death, tells him that he will be killed in
battle the next morning, and orders him to despair and die. The ghosts
then move away and speak to the sleeping Richmond, telling him that
they are on Richmond’s side and that Richmond will rule England and
are the father of a race of kings. In a similar manner, eleven ghosts
move across the stage: Prince Edward, the dead son of Henry VI; King
Henry VI himself; Richard’s brother Clarence; Rivers, Gray, and
Vaughan; the two young princes, whom Richard had murdered in the
tower; Hastings; Lady Anne, Richard’s former wife; and, finally,
Buckingham. Realizing that he is a murderer, Richard tries to figure
out what he fears. He asks himself whether he is afraid of himself or
whether he loves himself. He realizes that he doesn’t have any reason
to love himself and asks whether he doesn’t hate himself, instead. For
the first time, Richard is truly terrified.At this point Richard sees
his good side and feels for the crime he is committing although he
desires the throne, he still carries on committing these dreadful
tasks, he does not kill at much as many people he had done in the
past. He feels for the people he has murdered under his power. This is
a heroic act that he realizes the situation and he reviews the stuff
that he has done to get in that position.

Buckingham has been executed, Richmond is Richards’s next battle as he
promises the country to peace and Richard cannot do this as well as he
is promising, they have a battle to sort it out. Richmond wins the
battle and he wants to marry the princess Elizabeth, he is also
crowned king, he merges the two houses together to secure his position
on the throne. Richard does not look like a hero in the end.


In conclusion I believe that Richard has been a villain to achieve the
places he has got to, he did not deserve these as he did not get to
them, but forced his way to them. Although the people in the play do
not realise this, it is very important for the audience to acknowledge
that Richard is like a mirror, he is impossible to see through. This
property of his makes him a stronger Machiavelli. He has been a
villain in this play but it was very complicated to decide if he was a
hero or a villain.
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