Richard III - Mark Eccles, William Shakespeare Proudly manipulative while obsessively self-loathing, Shakespeare’s Richard III is a portrait of the perverse. One watches Richard sacrifice everything and everyone in pursuit of power. There is no purpose to his pursuit except to deprive anyone else of that power. He is depravity personified.

He is what makes this play brilliant.

In some twisted way, we pity Richard. His physical deformity and sense of isolation evoke compassion. The tragedy in this play is that Richard obtains everything to which he aspires. He is not challenging Fate as in the Greek tragic tradition, he is creating his Fate. A Fate which unambiguously involves nothing but loss and death. He voluntarily orchestrates and subjects himself to tragedy. But this is no suicide. It is an unapologetic rejection of everything we value just to embrace the act of rejection. The fall of principled men is a common literary theme, but it is rare to find those who refuse to rise.