Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. Is Richard the hero of the play or its villain?
2. How does Richard’s personality change over the course of the play?
3. What roles do women play in Richard III?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. What role does the supernatural play in Richard III? Why might Shakespeare have chosen to populate a play supposedly based on history with so many ghosts, curses, and prophecies?
2. How does the talent for wordplay affect the fortunes of the characters in the play? Is skill with words a sure sign of intelligence and capability, or does it indicate manipulative cunning and shrewdness? Why is the ability to express oneself so important throughout the play? Think especially about the characters of Richard, Margaret, and the princes.
3. Compare the characters of Buckingham and Hastings. How do their conceptions of loyalty to their respective masters differ? What traits lead them to their eventual executions?
4. How do the so-called window scenes, which show us the effect of the goings-on in the palace among the common people, broaden the focus of the play? How does the play portray the relationship between those in power and the masses of commoners whom they rule?
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