The effect that Shakespeare's play Richard III has had on the image and reputation of the late king is immense. In it Richard is portrayed as a disfigured and villainous murderer - and that is what people have believed to be the real Richard for centuries. The play is, however, only loosely based on truth and twists the actual facts a great deal. Shakespeare can perhaps be forgiven for his 'artistic' version of history, given that he lived under the rule of the Tudor dynasty, Richard's worst enemies. They would not have taken kindly to any positive portrayal of Richard.