Philippa Gregory

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Evaluate Richard III in The White Queen, especially his morals.

In The White Queen, Richard III is presented as a well-meaning man who eventually compromises his morals. He wants to do right by his family. However, he feels under attack by the Woodvilles. This leads him to seize power for himself.

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In The White Queen, author Philippa Gregory treats Richard III much more kindly than Shakespeare did. Rather than being a completely amoral and scheming villain, this depiction of Richard shows him to be a well-intentioned man overcome by his circumstances. He is shown as loyal to his brother, and later to his nephews, at least at first.

Although Richard and Elizabeth are rivals, there are moments when Richard sincerely wants to come to some sort of amicable relationship with her. The two foes come to realize that it would be good to build a sense of mutual trust between them. Unfortunately, this attempt is thwarted by the machinations of Lord Stanley and Margaret Beaufort.

When Richard finds himself in the role of Lord Protector and regent of young Edward, he grows to fear that Elizabeth's distrust of him will poison his relationship with the new king. Richard figures that it is only a matter of time before the Woodvilles find a way to take away all his power and titles. This is when Richard starts to compromise his morals. Being so close to power convinces him to take it for his own. He imprisons his nephews and has Edward and Elizabeth's marriage declared void. As Philippa Gregory presents it, this is Richard's tragic flaw. His distrust (which is honestly come by) leads him to become power-hungry and commit terrible acts.

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