Richard III Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Why is Richard III so profoundly evil?

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brendawm eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Richard is a case study of pshchological evil; he is clearly a villain and makes his wicked intentions clear in every speech.  However, at the same time, he is also the protagonist of the play and a charismatic and mesmerizing figure that can actually earn the audience's sympathy.  His evil nature is revealed expertly through his wickedness, yet brilliant wordplay, his skillful argumentation, and his relentless pursuit of his selfish desires.Richard’s plans and excited confessions of all his evil thoughts, through his amazing monologues, are central to the audience’s experience of Richard.  Richard claims that his malevalence is due to the fact that he is unloved because of his physical deformity. In turn, he masterfully causes the other characters to be viewed as villans rather than victims--still more evil, although it does become quickly apparent that Richard is simply using his deformity as a tool to gain the sympathy of others. It is my belief that Richard’s evil is a much more intrinsic part of his character than straightforward resentment about his ugly body. His real nature is that he is much more the monster that he is rather than the sympathy deserving character he would have us believe he is.

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lmillerm eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It is my interpretation that Richard III is very complex, in that, he is very egotistical, yet his insecurities make for a malevolent attitude. Because of his birth defects, Richard III has felt rejected by the world. He seeks revenge against the world.
Richard's love/hate relationship with himself creates a conflict so great that he cannot control it, thus creating such a profoundly evil character.

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scribe | Student

For nearly 20 yrs I have been a re-enactor and have been proud to be part of a wonderful group that is resident at Bosworth battlefield  and have taken part in living history displays,Since, I have researched and learned about the true Richard, not the propaganda that the tudors wanted us to believe, I urge people to look at the real Richard and find out the truth and not from Shakesphere rubbish that bent and twisted the facts and indeed as we know today, not all Shakesphere work was written by him. There is a resident Knight at Bosworth who runs our group The Routiers de Rouen as Captain Mortimer. Go and visit him and learn the facts, its quite an eye opener.

revolution | Student

He is a very complicated character in the story and he is also the dominant force in the story as he is both the protagonist, which means the main character and the main villain himself. He is the source of intense exploration of the psychology of evil.

He is the villain of the story, who would stop at nothing to achieve his dreams, even by means killing someone. He is the master of trickery and the exploitationof people's innocent minds. Richard use long interesting and fascinating monologues to give the power of "attraction" to other people and works his charm to deceive people, and manipulate their minds in his endless pursuit of selfish and selfish desire to upsurp the throne and control the whole empire. 

For example, in order to gain the audience's sympathy, he claims his hatred to other people was that he felt unloved by other people because of his deformity in his body.

This shows that he uses his physical deformity as the tool for acceptance. He uses his eloquence to make us trust him, so as to work to the throne.

All these characteristics makes him a psychopath monster and tells us how profoundly evil he is to other people