Richard III

by William Shakespeare
432 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Clodsley S.

Violent Shakespeare play; twisted morals.


Deformed on the inside and the outside, Duke Richard of Gloucester longs to take the throne as king. But there are obstacles in the way. His brother, the king, for one, as well as his sons. He has men to help him murder them, but at every turn he finds another obstacle to face. In another one of William Shakespeare's tragic morality plays, this story tells about tyranny and bloodshed.


While this is a morality play, not a lot of the characters have morals, such as the play's main character, Richard. It seems that he only wants the throne for power and position, and he's not afraid to kill for it. He calls conscience a bad thing, as do other characters in the play, especially when one of the characters has a change of heart about killing for power.

Spiritual Content

Most, if not all, of the characters are Christian, and often refer to God as the supreme being. Richard is called the Devil. There are also references to having protection within the church. Ghosts of people that Richard has killed haunt him in his dreams.


This is probably the main concern in the play. A lot of characters die behind-the-scenes, but their fates are described. One man is killed and then thrown into a wine cellar. Others are beheaded. A few characters are stabbed. Two children are murdered. In much of the dialogue violence is described, and many of the characters say that blood is on Richard's hands.

Drug and Alcohol Content


Sexual Content

Some bawdy Shakespearean dialogue, including a slightly sultry scene between Anne and Richard. It doesn't get into too much detail, but you can tell what he's implying. Richard professes his love to a few different women.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Medieval/Renaissance curses such as "'Zounds" and "Jesu". God's name is misused a few times. "D-mn" is used correctly, as is "H-ll".


Twisted, psychological, and violent, "Richard III" gives you a lot to think about. It doesn't have as much bawdy dialogue as others do, but violence makes up for it. It's a very mature but magnificent read - one of Shakespeare's best in terms of the writing and the way the tale plays out.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 3
Written for Age: adult

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