Until recently, the popular opinion of King Richard III was that he was an evil hunchback who killed two little boys, brought an end to the era of the House of York, and brought about the glory of the Tudor family. Much of his reputed evil deeds comes from William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Richard III. Some have suggested that Richard III was unfairly demonized in order to paint the Tudor family as the saviors of England. Regardless of the more recent speculation, The Tragedy of Richard III remains one of the most chilling tales of the potential destructiveness of a man’s ambition and pride.
King Richard III Tragic hero - Richard III as Tragic Hero
Richard is driven by his ambition to become king, regardless of any cost.
Richard thinks he is invincible; he is arrogant and believes that he will successfully sway Lady Anne to marry him, and he will kill everyone in his way to get the crown.
Buckingham flees to Wales and raises an army against Richard; Richard discovers that the Earl of Richmond is bringing an army against him in a final challenge to the throne. Richard realizes that most of his allies are dead or turned against him.
Richard is visited by the ghosts of those he’s murdered, and discovers that he is an evil villain who hates himself. For the first time, he is afraid.
The ghosts predict Richard’s defeat and Richmond’s victory, and the sun refuses to rise. Richard and Richmond meet on the battlefield, where Richard is killed.
The audience feels a slight pang of pity when Richard realizes how badly he has sinned by killing so many people. He also shows fear at his impending defeat and doom.