The Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, brings Richard III to life with this new full-length, full-cast dramatic recording of its definitive Folger Edition.
In Richard III, Shakespeare invites us on a moral holiday. The play draws us to identify with Richard and his fantasy of total control of self and domination of others. Not yet king at the start of the play, Richard presents himself as an enterprising villain as he successfully plans to dispose of his brother Clarence. Richard achieves similar success in conquering the woman he chooses to marry. He carves a way to the throne through assassination and executions.
But Richard also meets resistance, most threateningly from Queen Margaret, widow of King Henry VI, whom he killed before the play’s beginning. Margaret issues a stream of curses, including one on Richard.
Gradually, the curses are fulfilled, suggesting the curse on Richard may come true, too. Increasingly, the play directs our sympathies away from Richard. His supporters desert him; his victims pile up. We may begin to share in the desire for vengeance voiced by Margaret.
This new unabridged audio recording of the well-respected edition of Shakespeare’s classic—expertly produced by the Folger Theatre—is perfect for students, teachers, and the everyday listener.
William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death.
The Folger Shakespeare Library is a world-renowned research center on Shakespeare and on the early modern age in the West. Its conservation lab is a leading innovator in the preservation of rare materials. Its well-known public programs include plays, concerts, literary readings, family activities, and exhibitions, as well as numerous programs for students and teachers. The Folger also publishes the illustrated, completely re-edited Folger Editions of Shakespeare's plays, award-winning exhibition catalogs, and the journal Shakespeare Quarterly. The Folger opened in 1932 as a gift to the American nation from Henry Clay Folger and his wife Emily Jordan Folger. It is administered by a Board of Governors under the auspices of Amherst College, Henry Folger’s alma mater.