RICHARD III AS VICE. When I asked my question yesterday, I had an answer in mind. I think that Rylance’s performance is based on the text and is consistent with the traditions of the Elizabethan stage. The Vice was a character in the Morality plays, and Richard represents the Vice. Tony Tanner says : “The Vice was the self-avowed mischief-maker…and we should remember that one of his satanic privileges was to inveigle the audience into laughing at evil.” Richard acknowledges that he is the Vice: “Thus, like the formal Vice, Inequity, I moralize two meanings in one word.” (III, i, ll. 82-83).
Mary Jane has a variant of the Vice figure in her play, Hamlet’s Shakespeare.