This essay responds to nagging questions about Shakespeare's Richard III that have arisen in surveying criticism while editing the play. In particular I am interested by the difficulty of reconciling the play's continuing popularity, as easily the most frequently performed of the histories, with criticism that characterizes it as formally retrogressive, historically retrospective and politically reactionary, combining Tudor state theology, a medieval world view and antiquated aesthetic forms. Its protagonist, as critics from Janet Adelman to Catherine Belsey have claimed, constitutes a step backward from 3 Henry VI, where Shakespeare's longest soliloquy suggests Richard's subjective density, to the primitive outlines of the stage Vice. Its content amounts to dramatized Mirror for Magistrates providentialism and propaganda on behalf of a state and order that no longer exist. Two related critical claims about the play in performance are that, without radical adaptation or spectacular stylization Richard III threatens to become a museum-piece, demanding program notes, genealogical charts, and color-coded costumes. As Dominique Goy-Blanquet argues, the history plays are, after all, “full of history, and increasingly difficult to make intelligible, let alone attractive.” Finally, there is Ton Hoenselaars' telling observation that many productions tend to be xenophobic, “projecting Ricardian evil onto a foreign other.” In the latter half of the 20th century, Richard appears associated with Stalin, Idi Amin, Yeltsin, Milosevich, Saddam Hussein or, that perennial favorite, Hitler. Richard is most often staged, that is, as someone else's problem.