Poor Richard

“Garrick as Richard III,” oil on canvas by William Hogarth, 1745.

“Garrick as Richard III,” oil on canvas by William Hogarth, 1745.

The recent discovery of remains purported to be those of Richard III propelled the 15th century king into the spotlight. Now that the validity of the bones is confirmed, Richard III is the subject of a legal disagreement about where he should be buried. Disagreement, however, is nothing new for the legacy of Richard III, whose biography has long been contested.

This October at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, Newell Boyd will delve into Richard III’s life and the factors that shaped the personal history we hear today in “Rediscovering Richard III.” Boyd suggests that “the study of Richard, as with most well-known historical figures … can provide for the student an understanding [of] how such an individual—regardless of his or her place in past times—mistakenly becomes a figure for our own time.” Boyd will dispel traditional judgement and place Richard III back in context.

In Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” Richard is a conniving man, eager for power. He is described as a hunchback whose envy dictates his every move. This version of Richard lives today through performances, movie adaptations and popular culture references. However, instead of being an accurate reflection of Richard III’s time or even Shakespeare’s time, Boyd explains that “these words reflect the times of Tudor King Henry VII who hired his own historian, Polydore Vergil, to defame Richard.”

It is easy to see how history is tainted by this historian’s defamation: “Since the days following both Henry VII and Shakespeare, therefore, few have been willing to judge Richard without prejudice and preconception.” This fall you can judge Richard III for yourself.

Laura Bailey

Author

Laura Bailey, Marketing Coordinator

One thought on “Poor Richard

  1. The promotors and funders, not to mention the participants of any future performances of Mr. S’s Richard III should face lawsuits for defamation of character.

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