It may not be Hamlet, but Richard III is still one of the finest works of literature ever created, in any medium. It's a classic piece of Shakespearian (and therefore, literary) character development, full of irony, wordplay, nuance, tension, imagery, and jaw-dropping poetic virtuosity. Shakespeare's Richard III is simply one of the most hypnotic and effectively portrayed characters of all time- he's a calculating, ruthless, cooly charismatic megalomaniac with bitter past and a knack for heroic feats of rhetoric. He's the quintessential antihero, a thoroughly despicable human being who is nonetheless incredibly fun to root for. Witnessing his swift, ruthless rise to power is a sheer visceral rush, and his monologues are deftly conceived works that drip with side poetry, cutting humor, and an almost charming sort of egotism. Reading or watching the play, one feels like they're the wicked king's confidante and co-conspirator, being allowed the unique privilege of peering into the amoral genius' twisted soul. The experience is exciting and cathartic. Of course, there's more to this play than one great character- the plot (which offers a seething glimpse of a chaotic post civil war England) is complex and engrossing, and sees Shakespeare hurling satirical darts at the corruption and pretensions of the nation's leaders. By allowing Richard to succeed by appealing to the greed, lust, and folly of those around him, Shakespeare sends a powerful warning about the cyclical nature and bottomless pitfalls of political villainy and oppression. At the same time, he paints a grim portrait of the ultimate outcomes of greed, egotism, selfishness, vengeance, and megalomania that still rings true to this day (and will probably do so until our species is extinct). Classic.