In William Shakespeare “Richard III” we see a dominant theme of evil. Richard manipulates other characters throughout the play for his own gain. The character type of Richard has been studied and examined for years. A look at the background of Richard’s upbringing and personal life contributes to his insecurities. Evil rulers are driven by fear. His anxieties and insecurities leads to a hatred that has a desire to destroy and promote violence.
An article by Robert Smallwood “Richard III at Stanford” introduced the idea that throughout the play we notice that he Richard is in constant pain. Doing harm to others does not bring him eternal satisfaction or happiness. Richard reign lasted two years and during then he was never happy. As he gained more and more power his insecurities worsened. He seeks attention and does so by causing pain to others. This pain drove him to bitterness and contempt and fueled his destructive ambition. Most important, his relationship with his mother, he seeks her approval.
This provided a psychological explanation for his behavior. “After Edward IV’s final exit, his mother arrived inexpertly to find Richard eyeing the throne, caught him in the act, like a schoolboy caught with his first cigarette. His sense of guilt and anticipation at that moment anticipated the final interview with her when her gesture encouraged him to lie on her lap. This child was promised parental approval at last, instead came out a terrible curse—“Bloody thou art, bloody will be the end” (Smallwood, 327).
Richard’s isolation progresses as he separates himself from the other characters and breaks the natural bonds between man and nature through his efforts to gain power. His isolation comes back to the idea that he is looking for acceptance. Thus, the audience never feels sympathetic towards him because he is wicked and evil. What a mother says and does is really important. It does not even have to...