THE TRAGEDY OF
King Richard the third.
His treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence: the pittiefull murther of his iunocent nephewes: his tyrannicall vsurpation: with the whole course of his detested life, and most deserued death.
I love that line - "his detested life." So, Richard is a murderer, a schemer, and unnaturally pitiless. Why do we care about him? Why do we listen to his many soliloquies, speeches delivered to no one but us, the audience? Why is Richard so fascinating?
Perhaps it's because, as a villain, he's fully aware and deliberate about it. No sooner have we met him again in the first speech of Richard III (he, of course, is our old acquaintance from Henry VI part 3), than he flat-out tells us of all his wicked plans: "I am determined to prove a villain" (1.1.30). I think it's this self-awareness about Richard that makes us watch him. He's decided his course, but he includes us in everything; he tells us his secrets, his jokes and his fears. He's laid the plots, but since he's told us about them, we are - perhaps unwillingly - complicit in the crimes and along for the ride.