This is why every troop should read Shakespeare’s Richard III

Ruddy Cano Avatar
"King Richard III, an oblique view looking west." From ‘The king in the car park’: new light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485. (Public domain)

Shakespeare is one of the greatest authors in history and still as famous as he was during his lifetime more than 400 years back. Every book he wrote has a lesson for everyone, and this particular one, Richard III, has important lessons for troops. Richard III is the main character in the book and is given the role of a king. According to historians, Richard III was an actual king and not just a fictional character. While the story is fun to read and easy to understand, it is important to pick the lessons from the main character or other characters in the book.

Richard III is an intriguing but terrifying figure who will stop at nothing to attain his goals. He is a member of the House of York, which has triumphed over the Lancaster’s in a lengthy struggle, but he loathes his older brother’s authority and the contentment of others around him. His low rank in the family and his deformed body make it even worse for him, making him determined to achieve his ambitious dreams of becoming the ruler sooner. While these thoughts should not be entertained, it shows how serious he was with his dreams and to what extend he would go to achieve them.

Among his first acts is deceiving Lady Anne into becoming his wife even though he had killed her husband. He conspires to have his older brother Clarence executed, and he transfers the allegation of blame to his oldest brother, King Edward, hastening his demise. Following these events, Richard is given the mandate to rule England as a protectorate of the crown up until the young sons of Edward become of age. This makes him more furious because he knows that the crown will be taken from him sooner or later. As a result, he holds the sons of Edward captive and later kills them. Richard does not stop at this; he kills his wife, Lady Anne, with ambitions to marry Elizabeth, the daughter of King Edward. 

Portrait of Richard III of England, painted c. 1520. (Public domain)

His actions become known to the public sooner or later, and his subjects undermine his authority. Unfortunately, his supporters change their allegiance, giving their loyalty to his rival Richmond. Richmond conquers England and marries Elizabeth, uniting the house of York and Lancaster once more. With his victory comes peace and a new era of prosperity. 

Richard barely sees the disaster coming his way because he is too busy securing his throne. He fails to read the signs of discontent among his supporters, something that would have saved him from the sudden death. The outcome of this book by Shakespeare has a crucial lesson for soldiers worldwide. It depicts how important it is to be moral and pursue dreams in lawful manners. 

While Richard’s story may seem negative in all aspects, troops can pick a few positive lessons from it. It is an excellent way to look at leadership, qualities and the skills that come with it. Being a leader means having power over your subjects. Once you have power, you have plenty of responsibilities to fulfill. A responsible leader will always find success in their leadership because they will always be accountable. 

At the same time, no matter how ambitious we are, justice should always prevail. When Richard’s supporters realized his doings and his unjust method of ruling, they became furious and shifted their loyalty to his rival. This led to his downfall, and since no one loved his leadership, they all vouched for his death. Finally, family is very important and should never be despised as Richard was. Additionally, respecting the hierarchy is crucial no matter the plans we have for ourselves.