Philippa Gregory

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Use specific events to analyze Richard III's moral dimension in The White Queen, either in the novel or the TV show.

In The White Queen, Philippa Gregory's take on Richard's reaction to the mysterious fate of the princes in the Tower of London is an attempt to make Richard appear more morally complicated than in past interpretations of his character.

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In The White Queen, Richard III is presented as a more morally complex figure than in other fictional interpretations of him, such as Shakespeare's Richard III. He is a decent man who, for the most part, wants to do the right thing. Unlike his wife, Anne Neville, he wants to trust Elizabeth Woodville despite how court intrigue puts them in opposite factions. He genuinely loves his wife and is pushed to take the throne for himself by others such as Anne, rather than inspired to do it himself. All of this makes Richard more complicated rather than merely a greedy tyrant.

The most significant illustration of the moral dimension of Gregory's Richard comes with the treatment of the disappearance of the princes in the Tower of London. Gregory goes with the theory that Richard did not kill his nephews. In the novel, he swears to Elizabeth that he is not the culprit, and in the miniseries, he even asks if Elizabeth used magic to spirit the boys away, suggesting strongly that he is unaware of what became of them. This makes Richard less of a monster than in other depictions of him. Even though he takes the throne from his nephew Edward, he is still trying not to cross any major moral lines, at least in Gregory's version of events.

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