Collection of original Richard III essay topics

  1. Discuss the role that the supernatural plays in Richard III. What reasons might Shakespeare have chosen to include so many prophecies, ghosts and curses in his play?
  2. Why has so much importance been placed on self expression in the play? Paying specific attention to the characters of the princes, Margaret and Richard.
  3. Compare and contrast the characters of Hastings and Buckingham. How do their concepts of loyalty towards their masters differ?
  4. What were the underlying reasons that lead to the executions of Hastings and Buckingham?
  5. There were several scenes in the play referred to as ‘window backdrops’ which show us what takes place in the palace among the common people. How is the relationship between those in power and the lower classes portrayed?
  6. At the beginning of the play, Richard is referred to as a ‘hedgehog.’ Later on in the play, he is referred to as a ‘boar.’ How is this appellation significant?
  7. How are the wooing scenes similar to each other and in what ways do they differ?
  8. Keeping the major theme of the play in mind, what reasons can you suggest for the success of the villain hero throughout the play?
  9. Which scene do you consider to be the climax of the play?
  10. What is the meaning of dramatic irony? Use three examples in the play to illustrate your definition.
  11. The major theme of the play is the vengeance of God upon the wicked. If this is the case, what explanation can you give for the deaths of Hastings, the queen’s kinsmen and the little princes?
  12. Why does Richard refer to himself as the Lords anointed?
  13. For what reason does Richard identify himself as God’s captain in the play?
  14. Give four examples of the use of the supernatural in this play. Out of the examples you have selected, which of them do you find to be the most effective?
  15. There are several references made to a woman by the name of Jane Shote in the play although she does not actually make an appearance. Who is she, and what does she contribute to the play?
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