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For the last day of 2020 i give you a formality post for a king who's quite possibly the most evil Shakespearian villain ever, King Richard the 3rd.

What Is The Work?

Richard the 3rd was originally a play written by William Shakespear, based on a real-life king and his scandals. In the real Richard the 3rd's defense, the fictional one was worse.

Who Is The Villain?

King Richard the 3rd is the king of England, who serves as the titular protagonist villain. He's the evil brother of  King Edward the 4th of England, whom he resented for years for similar reasons to Scar resenting Mufasa.

What Does He Do

The play begins with Ricard describing his brother King Edward the 4th of England's ascention to the throne. The tone was bitter at best and poisonous at worst, which foreshadows Richard's true nature. Later on, his first on-screen action was arranging his brother Clarence to conduct  the Tower of London by twisting a prophecy, only to kill him later on when he's far from their mutual father's sight.

The next step of his plot to become the new king was marrying Lady Anne (Anne Neville) after murdering her husband and father. All that while poisoning the people against Queen Elizabeth by using the Lancaster-York conflict for his own edge.

Upon meeting his nephews Edward the 5th and the Duke of York, who were underage at the time, his first instinct was to lock them in the tower of London, but not before beheading some of Edward the 4th (the boys' father)'s widow's relatives who accompanied Edward. He slandered them, sent his cousin Buckingham after them, and then sent the more ruthless James Tyrrell who actually did his job after Buckingham hesitated. Buckingham was no longer on Richard's side after this incident, and neither did Lady Anne, whom he poisoned for getting married to Princess Elizabeth. He didn't love Elizabeth either, just wanted her because she was the niece of a political rival.

Finally, Richard's karma went savage all over his face at the hands of  Queen Margaret, followed by rebellions led by Buckingham and his new friends. The final blow was a mass desertion, leaving him all alone to be killed.

Redeeming Qualities

Nope. Living his life under his brother's shadow doesn't make him tragic, and not insecure either, as his sadism and machination are far beyond justification. In the context of the play, feeling like his parents loved his brothers better makes him more evil rather than less, and that's without saying a word about being a serial killer of his own family. The part where he promised his whole kingdom in exchange for a horse isn't a comedic moment. Not even laughably evil. If anything, it makes him even worse, as only a very callous man can promise a kingdom for a horse when he's about to die.

Freudian Excuse

He felt like his parents loved his brother better. However, it translated itself into an irrational lust for power. That's a rather petty excuse for the oceans of blood he has on his hands.

Heinous Standard

The Shakespearian standard is surprisingly high, with Iago being already pure evil, and people like Aaron the Moor are considered protective. However, King Richard tops even the villains mentioned in this paragraph. Even Iago didn't massacre his own family, yet he's pure evil. Any other villain had either certain caring for one's own family or slight redeeming qualities. King Richard is just a royal psychopath, worse even than Iago. Here's a short rehearsal of why even Iago doesn't go as low as Richard does:

1. Executing his own brother in a prison, away from any help. He even encourages the killers to kill Clarence in brutal ways and let him know why he's getting killed in such a brutal manner.

2. murdered his father in law and brother in law, and later killed his own wife (again, one of Richard's victims was her father, and the other one was her husband). He wanted to waste her from the beginning and just wanted to use her to his ends and hurt her before doing so. The reason and time he killed her were merely an excuse and a matter of time. And yet worse, he talked about it in a juvenile tone.

3. The part with locking up his nephews, and later sending a murderer after them, is historically accurate. There's a reason these two are nicknamed "the princes in tower". Killing two young boys without remorse is something none of the other Sharkespearian villains did.

4. His quest for power nearly crumbled his whole kingdom in ways that drained his resources and alienated him from everyone else. Macbeth crumbled his own kingdom too, except he had genuine regrets and truly loved his wife. Richard was heartless, wasted his wives with ease and brought everything he got on himself.

5. Even other villains who hated others more than they loved their own family, such as Lord Capulet, had their moments of realizing the error of their ways and felt at least slightly bad about themselves. The only moments King Richard felt bad about himself were when he talked about his brother, or when he was about to die.

Verdict

Given he's a power-hungry serial killer of his own family, and overall the most evil Shakespearian villain ever, i think he's PE.

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