K is for King Richard III, the misanthropic Machiavellian megolomaniacal hero of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Marvel as cruel Richard psychotically removes all those who stand in between him and the throne of England, including his own little nephews. At the same time, sympathize for poor “deformed, unfinish’d” Richard, whose hunchedback and game leg have kept him from any saucy fun with the ladies. Throughout his ambitious quest, Richard wavers from a proto-Iago, devilishly–gleefully even–manipulating the hapless pawns around him, to a manic depressive unhorsed on the battlefield, less than half a man. Poor guy.
Check out Sir Ian McKellen (y’know, Gandalf) doing Richard III in the 1995 film version set in a fictional fascist England of the 1930s. Because, um, Shakespeare’s like, um, better when recontextualized.