Death Speech of Richard III

richard iii.jpg

Today’s post is something a little bit different. Since Sunday is the birthday of the Bard, I thought I’d share an assignment I wrote for my grad school Shakespeare class. One of the plays we read was Richard III – which instantly became one of my favorite plays – and, since it is one of the only (maybe the only, I don’t remember) Shakespearean tragedies lacking a death speech, we were tasked with writing one. Being a bit of an overachiever (seriously, though I absolutely loved that class), I decided to write mine in iambic pentameter. Just to make it a bit of a challenge. I’m super happy with the result (as was my professor), and I thought it would be fun to post it here, since I don’t post as much of my creative writing as I would like.

I hope you enjoy it! And even if you hate it, I think you should still give Richard III a shot, because it’s amazing (and my writing is in no way indicative of Shakespeare’s masterpiece). Ian McKellen stars in the film version and is brilliant, so if you’d rather watch it, that’s fine, too.

So dies a King alone, with no kin left
To mourn him. And if they were yet living,
They would no doubt rejoice my death, for I,
I, who was so rudely stamped, deformed,
And deprived of the pleasures of this world
Is gone from it, and it is safe from me.
I have murdered my brothers and their heirs
And proved myself not lover, but villain.
Those who looked upon my grim visage saw
Not humanity but deformity.
And so I, treated thusly by the world
Determined to become the villain they
So hastily determined me to be.
My enemy has dealt the fatal blow,
The reign of Richard III is ended.
The King who spilled the blood of England’s throne,
Who plotted against friends and foes alike,
Now lies murdered by his own deadly hate.

Let me know what you thought of this post! Have you read Richard III? What’s your favorite Shakespeare play? I want to read at least one more this year, and I’m thinking Midsummer – let me know if you have any suggestions!

4 thoughts on “Death Speech of Richard III

  1. I had to do this for my Master’s class too. I loved your and used your idea of how the world saw Richard as a villain and not a human. Here is what I came up with:

    Now ends the glorious summer of York.
    Wast I too aggressive in mine pursuit
    Of villainy? Didst I prove to beest
    The monster mine mother hath believed
    Me beest? Alas, I await the ferryman
    Whom will escort me to the kingdom of
    Perpetual night; as alone in this
    As I wast in these days’ idle pleasures.
    For none truly loved Richard, not even I.
    Mine cousins, mine lovers, nor mine country
    Could see the humanity behind this
    Deformity, and thus shared their love not.
    And so, I, without any love to guide me,
    Didst desire a crown, yet, in mine
    Pursuit I proved the villain the world thus
    Believed me be. There is no creature
    Whom loves me now, no one to pity me.
    Rejoice; “God killed Richard, the monster king!”

    Liked by 1 person

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