What do the female characters in Richard III contribute to the play?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The female characters in Richard III are mainly members of the royalty and nobility. The queens in particular are extremely important for their functions as wives and mothers of current and future kings. While this was true in British history, these functions become especially important in the way William Shakespeare tells the story of Richard's ruthless rise to power. The characters of Margaret and Anne show distinct personalities that help explain how they helped thwart and enable Richard's ascent.

Margaret, as the dowager, offers an example to the others, about loss, love, and revenge over the princes' deaths. Herself stymied and of limited power, she nonetheless tries to influence palace politics.

As Edward's wife and then widow, Anne tries in vain to resist her own fate and to keep Richard off the throne. Her anger and frustration accomplish no permanent impediment, however. Anne's fate is ultimately poignant as well as tragic, as she falls victim to her own curse that she called down...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 581 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team