What are some elements of humor in Richard III?

Expert Answers

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

In Shakespeare's King Richard III, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III) is portrayed as a diabolical serial murderer, but this shouldn't detract from the fact that Richard is also a terrific comedian. Richard is witty, charming, and charismatic—disarmingly and dangerously so—and his at times self-deprecating humor arises from his clear realization of who and what he is.

Richard has no illusions about himself, and he has no delusions about the path he's chosen to reach the throne of England. Richard knows that he has nothing to lose and everything to gain as he maneuvers his way to the crown, and he intends to thoroughly enjoy the adventure of it all, no matter what awaits him at the end of his journey.

At the opening of the play, Richard takes center stage and begins his "stand-up" routine. After a few jokes about the end of the War of the Roses, Richard makes fun of his own deformities.

RICHARD. ...I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 857 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
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 10, 2020