In this final play of the tetralogy describing the War of the Roses and the restoration (despite Richard III's efforts) of the Tudor Dynasty, is there nothing Richard will not do to save his crown? Bloodthirsty, spiteful, ambitious, and deformed, but gifted with wit, charm, and acumen, Richard III is Shakespeare's first major character and his second most substantial, after Hamlet, in terms of sheer lines. Shakespeare drew on several portraits of Richard by Tudor historians, none of which was sympathetic to him. In portraying a charismatic villain-hero, Shakespeare was borrowing the technique Marlowe mastered in TAMBURLAINE, which was immensely popular in its day. RICHARD III was probably written in 1591, and published in 1597, appearing later in the more reliable First Folio, 1623.