Richard III












Bhalu’s friend Piglet is obsessed with Richard III, and is a member of the White Boar Brigade, the militant wing of the Richard III Society. The object of the White Boars is to clear Richard of the slurs against him propagated by the Tudors and immortalised in the Shakespeare play.

Piglet wants to rewrite Richard III, and sees no difficulty in composing poetry like Shakespeare, for Shakespeare himself has supplied enough lines and images to fill virtually all the gaps: all we have to do is steal them from his other plays.




Piglet’s rewrite of Shakespeare’s Richard III


A sea coast in France


First watcher:

Ten is the hour that was appointed us
To watch for ship, lately embark’d from England.


Second watcher

Look where it comes; sail fill’d with fretting gusts
The black vessel shakes on Neptune’s billow,
Half the flood hath her keel cut; up and down
The poor ship drives, delug’d, overflow’d and drown’d;
The ruthless waves with sands and rocky shelves
Do threaten her with wreck.


First watcher:

And yet she lives!

Second watcher:

She cannot perish having one aboard,
Of such dark, secret, midnight wickedness
That even Neptune’s green, prodigious bowel
Cannot enclose, engulf and swallow up,
But like a drunkard must vomit him forth,
Who’s destined to a drier death on shore:
James Tyrell, Knight of England, here he comes.
Enter Sir James Tyrell


First watcher:

Yea, I’d warrant him gainst drowning, though the ship
were no stronger than a nutshell and as leaky as
an unstanched wench.



’Tis not the first time I have landed on
This unkind coast, and when I came before
Did not the awkward winds conspire to turn
Me back again unto my native clime?
What well forewarning wind did seem to say
‘Seek not the scorpion’s nest, nor set no footing
On that traitor’s shore’? What did I then,
But cursed the gentle gusts that took me home,
And bid them blow towards these Breton rocks.
And now come I again, ’tis not the waves
And savage seas have wrecked and hammered me
From top of honour to disgrace’s feet:
My shamed life in Tudor’s dishonour lies.
How was it possible, that foreign hire
Could out of me extract such spark of evil?
O treason, thou art glutted, gorged and full
With guiltless blood of innocents. Edward’s
Children murdered! God rest their little souls.
The most arch deed of piteous massacre

Here Piglet has Sir James Tyrell landing in Brittany to meet Welsh pretender Henry Tudor, Tudor wants to commission Tyrell to murder the little princes. Their deaths will then be blamed on their uncle and protector, Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

A Shakespeare Challenge


It occurred to me that rewriting Richard III could be a useful and fun class project for students of Shakespeare, as pillaging his work for phrases, lines and images necessarily involves getting acquainted with a good many plays. There are plenty of online tools that can help.



Searchable Works of Shakespeare
Another one, from The Literature Network


If any teacher  decides to try  this strange idea, please  let me know how it goes.


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