22 August 2018, The Tablet

The humanity of monsters

Nature of evil

The humanity of monsters

The skeleton of Richard III dug up from a car park in Leicester


Bones dramatically unearthed in a parking lot in Leicester in 2012 turned out to belong to the man who is perhaps the most reviled figure in all of English history, King Richard III. Shakespeare’s depiction of the king is, as one might expect, distinctive and compelling.

Richard appears first in Henry VI: Part 3 as the ruthless Duke of Gloucester, whose heinous crimes earn him the reputation of being a monster of evil. The play itself is awash with blood, its stage littered with heavy armour and with men and swords dripping with blood, and dead bodies and severed heads. It is a veritable jungle of revenge and torture, of murder, mockery and mutilation. And there, standing at its centre, as if at home in this world of hate and chaos, is Richard.

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