Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is bored.
By the time Richard was eighteen or nineteen years old, he was leading troops into battle and gaining victories for his brother, Edward, King of England, during the "War of the Roses"—the war between the Lancastrians and the Yorkists, two sides of Richard's family, the Plantagenets. For the past ten or twelve years of his life, Richard has only known war. He was good at it, and he enjoyed it.
At the beginning of Shakespeare's Richard III, King Edward is safely on the throne, England is at peace, and Richard has nothing to do. In his opening soliloquy, Richard tells us everything we need to know about his motivations for wanting to be King.
RICHARD. Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried (1.1.1–4).
The War of the Roses is over.
RICHARD. ...And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
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