Richard III is a play by William Shakespeare, dating from about 1591. It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and short reign of Richard III of England. Next to Hamlet, it is Shakespeare’s longest play. It is rarely performed at full length – often certain peripheral characters are removed entirely, and linking lines added in to establish continuity. The original play assumes that the audience is familiar with the Henry VI plays, and frequently references events in these.
Richard is bitter, ambitious, hunchbacked, and jealous of his brother, King Edward. So he plots the downfall of his rivals, lies, cheats and murders his way to the throne, and meets his doom in the final Act.