Renæssanceforum 13 • 2018

David Hasberg Zirak-Schmidt
Histrionic History: Theatricality and Historiography in Shakespeare’s Richard III

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This article focuses on Shakespeare’s history drama Richard III, and investigates the ambiguous intersections between early modern historiography and aesthetics expressed in the play’s use of theatrical and metatheatrical language. I examine how Shakespeare sought to address and question contemporary, ideologically charged representations of history with an analysis of the characters of Richard and Richmond, and the overarching theme of theatrical performance. By employing this strategy, it was possible for Shakespeare to represent the controversial character of Richard undogmatically while intervening in and questioning contemporary discussions of historical verisimilitude.