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What does Richard III owe to Shakespeare?

What does Richard III owe to Shakespeare?

Nothing? 

Everything? 

Whilst sat writing a Richard III History Travel Guide I find that, within the first line, I am referencing another famous Englishman.....Shakespeare. 

Why? 

Well, quite simply, the influence of Shakespeare's pen portrait of the King has been far reaching and massively influential. Shakespeare's depiction of Richard as the ambitious, power hungry hunchback has been adopted in literature, film and theatre and because of that, has taken on an air of authenticity more suited to a documentary than a 16th century play.

The discovery of Richard's body in 2012 prompted renewed interest in the man and the accuracy of our general understanding of his physical appearance and personality. 

Here's a question......if Shakespeare had not been as famous (a circumstance itself owing to the good fortune of Shakespeare to have friends keen to preserve his works through creating the 'First folio') would Richard be so well known? 

Regardless of the negative image Shakespeare portrayed of Richard, is the interest in getting to know the 'real' Richard something the King would be obliged to thank the writer for? 

For without the controversial character he created would we be talking about Richard at all?

I'd love to hear your thoughts - post a comment below or drop me a line.

The Life of Shakespeare Tour -  September 2019

There is no better way to understand Shakespeare than to visit the places where his story is told. You will literally walk in the Bard's footsteps, from birth to grave. During this 5 day tour you visit Stratford-upon-Avon and London. In Stratford you will stand in the house, and even the room, in which Shakespeare was born! Visit his schoolroom, the site of his house in Stratford, the place he courted his wife, Anne Hathaway, dine at his daughter's house and visit his grave. In London we will visit the Globe theatre as well as take a walk around Southwark to the site of the original Rose theatre!

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