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Richard III is a play by William Shakespeare. It was probably written around 1593. It is labeled a history in the First Folio, and isRichard III is a play by William Shakespeare. It was probably written around 1593. It is labeled a history in the First Folio, and is usually considered one; but sometimes it is called a tragedy, as in the quarto edition. Richard III concludes Shakespeare's first tetralogy (also containing Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VI, Part 2, and Henry VI, Part 3); and depicts the Machiavellian rise to power, and subsequent short reign, of King Richard III of England.It is the second longest play in the Shakespearean canon; and is the longest of the First Folio, whose version of Hamlet (otherwise the longest) is shorter than its Quarto counterpart. The play is often abridged, and peripheral characters removed. In such cases, extra lines are often invented, or added from elsewhere, to establish the nature of characters' relationships. A further reason for abridgment is that Shakespeare assumed his audiences' familiarity with his Henry VI plays, frequently referring to the latter.