Dating the play
Rebecca Brown explains how we know when Shakespeare wrote Richard III:
Richard III built on the success of Shakespeare's Henry VI Part 3, in which Richard first takes centre stage as a fully-fledged villain.
A memorable line from Henry VI Part 3 was parodied by Robert Greene in his pamphlet, Greene's Groatsworth of Wit. Since Greene expected his readers to recognise the allusion, Henry VI Part 3 must have been well-known on the London stage by 1592, the year in which the pamphlet was published.
Following on as it does from the Henry VI trilogy, Richard III was probably written in 1592-3.
At around the same time, Shakespeare was writing Titus Andronicus and the long narrative poem, Venus and Adonis.
Richard III was first published in 1597.
Written by Rebecca Brown © RSC
Images shows Simon Russell Beale as Richard in the RSC's 1992 production of Richard III.
Image © RSC. By kind permission of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.