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KING RICHARD THE THIRD completes the Civil War series of the Three Parts of King Henry the Sixth, and is probably the earliest historical play of which Shakespeare alone was the author. There was an older play of which Shakespeare made no use, entitled “ The True Tragedy of Richard the Third : wherein is shown the death of Edward the Fourth, with the smothering of the two young Princes in the Tower: with a lamentable end of Shore's wife, an example for all wicked women. And lastly, the conjunction and joining of the two noble Houses, Lancaster and York.
As it was played by the Queen's Majesty's Players." This old piece was first printed in 1594, and was then evidently of older date. It has been suggested that as it includes references to contemporary events, and does not refer to the Spanish Armada, the play must have been written before 1588. Its form certainly indicates an undeveloped state of the drama, and it has interest of its own as one of the earliest historical plays in our printed literature. For that reason, and for contrast witb Shakespeare's play on the same subject, room shall be found for it after Titus Andronicus. The