Date of Award

Summer 1988

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Jeffrey Hamilton

Committee Member

Michael C. Andrews

Committee Member

Douglas Greene

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H85K53


Shakespeare's portrait of Richard III as a diabolical monster was based on the hostile accounts fashioned about him during the Tudor regime. Sir Thomas More's Richard III established the definitive image of Richard as the deformed tyrant who usurped the throne and murdered his nephews. This was the portrait that Shakespeare inherited from the sixteenth-century writers who incorporated More's account into their chronicles. This thesis examines Shakespeare's portrayal of Richard and the chronicle sources upon which he drew in order to show how Shakespeare's portrait of Richard developed. Although Richard was not the evil character presented in Shakespeare's play, it is difficult to discern his nature, for important information concerning his character is missing. When Richard's character and kingship are reconstructed, it can be seen that Richard little resembles the character dramatized by Shakespeare.


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