Was Shakespeare a Tudor Propagandist? He Wrote "Richard III" In 1592, Over 100 Years After The Battle of Bosworth Field
Shakespeare is fiction, not history. It was written for entertainment, as books, films, and television shows are written even now. It was theater, not thesis.
Theater is a "suspension of reality." Is it dramatic? Of course, it is. It is theater. It was never intended to be historically accurate. It was theater back then, at the turn of the century, and it is theater today. Without Shakespeare, would anyone have looked for Richard III's mortal remains? Without Shakespeare would anyone today even know who Richard III was? Even the Ricardians have to admit that Richard III gained his fame as a direct result of Shakespeare's play. Without William Shakespeare would we have the proliferation of all the novels, movies, television series, magazine articles, scientific studies and so forth without having Shakespeare as a catalyst? Lastly, Shakespeare wrote Richard III in 1592. Which Tudor monarch had him write that Tudor propaganda? Elizabeth I was, at the time, very old and would die by 1603. She had nothing to prove or disprove. The English people loved her. They still do.
Shakespeare did not come up with the known facts on his own. He researched and drew on the historical material that was available to him at that time, for all his plays. The basic story already existed, as did the stories about Henry V, Richard II, Henry IV, or any historical figures that Shakespeare made immortal in his great work. Shakespeare did not have the proverbial "axe to grind". He was an artist, and a playwright. To vilify Shakespeare, or his body of work would be patently unfair, and, what's more, it would be slandering Shakespeare, as some people believe Richard III was viciously slandered, and misrepresented. If slandering Richard III was wrong, then so is pillorying the various writers, the sources of what information we have today, that speak about the events of 1483, until the Battle of Bosworth. in 1485. Most of the accounts that deal with the Princes in the Tower, tell the story of the twelve year old, Prince of Wales, and his younger brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, ten years of age. Many of the articles and books that defend Richard III are written without looking at the facts, the foundation, that support what they wrote. Allegations are made without one iota of solid fact to back it up. In 1592, Richard III had been dead for over a hundred years. Shakespeare did not make it up as he went along. The story existed before Shakespeare was even born.
Richard III Reading Shakespeare
Richard III Did Not Believe in Due Process or the Rights Under English Law For Those He Had Arrested And, Later, Executed
Richard of Gloucester did not follow the law of the land. Men were arrested by his orders and beheaded on the spot, or imprisoned, and, then, beheaded. They were not allowed to speak and defend themselves, or have anyone speak for them, or to be able to produce evidence, or even to have a mockery of a trial, as Henry VIII did, during his If Richard did not accord these rights to 'his' subjects, then, perhaps, we should treat him as he treated others.
Those who falsely accuse Shakespeare, and others, without any basis in fact, are doing precisely what they accuse William Shakespeare, Thomas More, The Bishop of Ely, and others of doing. Most rely on material already in print stating opinion as facts. They are just parroting, and not looking for the truth themselves.
William Shakespeare as a Young Man
Did Richard III Usurp His Nephew's Crown?
The allegation has been made Richard of Gloucester was 'forced', against his will, to take the crown that rightfully belonged to his nephew, Edward V, and, then, his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury. The reason is that Edward IV had supposedly had a pre-contract with a woman named Eleanor Talbot. The Church had no record of it happening. Eleanor Talbot never claimed that Edward IV was betrothed to her; her father, John Talbot never made such a claim on behalf of his daughter, Fortunately for Richard III, neither the father or the daughter were alive to speak to the unfounded charges. The man who made the allegations was not a man of God, not a Bishop, not a priest, not a monk, he was merely the brother of the man who "forced' Richard to accept the crown, the politician, Lord Mayor of London Shaa. Ricardians believe this lay person, who had no standing as clergy, and could not back up his accusation with anything tangible or that could back up his statement. He did not have firsthand knowledge because he had married them. He could not have married them or drew up a contract of marriage because, again, he was not affiliated with any Church. Since Cicely of York and her brother Richard were first cousins of Eleanor's mother, the Pope would have had to give them a Dispensation to marry. Edward IV would have been a mere nine years old when Eleanor married her first husband, and became Eleanor Talbot Butler.
In a court of law, the so called marriage contract allegation would be dismissed for lack of evidence. Richard of Gloucester did not defend his brother, King Edward IV, the brother that he, Richard III, supposedly, loved. Richard III could not have believed the allegation that his nieces and nephews were illegitimate at face value, because he had witnessed a previous marriage. Richard would have been about one year old himself, at the time of a marriage contract. When Eleanor married, any prior marriage contact that existed would be null and void. So, we can safely say that Richard did not require any proof of the charges before he accepted them on one man's say so.
Was Richard III a usurper? Almost certainly. Did Richard III have his nephews, the helpless "Princes in the Tower," murdered? Maybe not; there is another person who very likely committed the crime, knowing that Richard III would be blamed, lose support, and, thereby, lose the crown. In a future article, we will all look at each known fact, and look at another suspect.
William Shakespeare Quote
Famous Quotes of William Shakespeare
Shakespeare and Richard III
However one feels about the guilt or innocence of Richard of Gloucester. later, Richard III, King of England, we have to ask ourselves one question: If William Shakespeare had not wrote a play about Richard III, would we even be having this discussion? For better or for worse, almost everyone knows who Richard III was, the events of 1483 still fuels debate hundreds of years later. In the future, more books will be written about Richard III, but, Shakespeare will still be read, as well, his plays will still be watched, and people will still marvel at Shakespeare's incredible gift to the world. The Battle of Bosworth Field, fought in 1485, was not the end of Richard III, he lives in literature, plays, television series. People still choose sides as to his culpability in the deaths of us two, helpless nephews in the infamous Tower of London. While Richard III may not have ordered their deaths, no one, not even the Ricardians, can say that Richard III fulfilled his promise to his brother, King Edward IV, in his role of Lord Protector of little Edward V, King of England, and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York. Their disappearance happened when they were in the Tower of London, under lock and key. Did Richard III keep his little nephews safe? No, he did not.
There is an expression that says, "Bad press is better than no press." Richard III owes his fame to none other than William Shakespeare.