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Richard III Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Can someone please explain to us how the heck Richard manages to woo Lady Anne – in front of her father-in-law's corpse – shortly after killing the old man and her husband? Thanks a bunch. (P.S. Partnering up and performing the infamous "wooing" scene before a live audience of classmates and teachers never hurt anybody.)
  2. Discuss the literary effects of Richard's dramatic asides and soliloquies. Why does Shakespeare always have Richard confide in us, the audience? Do Richard's speech habits make the audience implicit in his scheming? Do they make us like him just a little bit? How do the asides and soliloquies help develop Richard's character and shape our experience of the play?
  3. Why are there so many prophetic dreams and curses in Richard III? How do all the prophesies impact our experience of the play?
  4. What is the role of women in the play? Do they have any power? If so, how does their power differ, in degree and kind, from the power of the men?
  5. Does Richard III perpetuate the "Tudor myth"? (See "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory.") Explain why or why not.
  6. Are Richard's actions governed by his own free will, or are they dictated by divine providence?
  7. To what genre does Richard III belong? Is it a "history play"? A "tragedy"? Both? Something else?
  8. Are there any fully developed characters in the play besides Richard?
  9. If you were in charge of choosing the cast for a film adaptation of the play, who would you cast as Richard?
  10. Conduct some research on the real King Richard III and compare and contrast Shakespeare's character with the historical English king.

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