From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Boar

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Various characters refer to Richard as "the boar" throughout the play. What's up with that? Well, Richard's heraldic symbol (on his coat of arms) is the white boar, which is often considered to be a fierce and hideous creature...just like Richard. (Check out his coat of arms here.) So we're not surprised when Lord Stanley has a dream that a "boar had razed off his helm[et]" (3.2.5) – it doesn't take Sigmund Freud to figure out that Stanley's afraid Richard is going to cut off his head.

Earlier in the play, Queen Margaret declares that Richard is an "elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog," which is a not-so-nice reference to Richard's emblem and the fact that Richard (according to Shakespeare's play) was born prematurely and "deformed" (1.3.11). Margaret's not the only one who suggests that Richard is more animal than human.

Later, Richmond calls Richard a "foul swine" and refers to him as a destructive boar during his speech at Bosworth field:

The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar,
That spoil'd your summer fields and fruitful vines,
Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
In your embowell'd bosoms,
(5.2.1)

Translation: Just as a boar might destroy a field of crops or feast on a man's guts (ever seen the famous "killer boar scene" in Hannibal?), Richard has ruined England by taking the throne and trampling all over the rights of his people.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement