Richard III

richard III cover image Richard III

by William Shakespeare
Penguin Classics
Paperback, 208 pages

“Now is the winter of our discontent.” Thus begins Shakespeare’s dramatic account of the Machiavellian rise to power of the ugly hunchback, King Richard III, and his brief reign. In the opening monologue Richard draws us in league with him as he sets about his nefarious business. Throughout the play his soliloquies and asides keep the audience “in the know” regarding his actions and intentions and keep us somewhat on his side. This is the second longest of Shakespeare’s canon (after Hamlet) and it is often abridged in a variety of ways. But always, when Richard is unhorsed in the Battle of Bosworth Field, his cry of “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” resounds throughout the house.