List iconRichard IIIList icon

Richard III
Act 2, scene 1

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

As Richard III opens, Richard is Duke of Gloucester and his brother, Edward IV, is king. Richard is eager to clear his…

Act 1, scene 1

Richard, alone onstage, reveals his intention to play the villain. He then pretends to console Clarence, the first victim of…

Act 1, scene 2

Richard woos Lady Anne over the corpse of King Henry VI, Anne’s father-in-law, whom Richard murdered.

Act 1, scene 3

Queen Elizabeth bemoans her situation in the face of her husband’s serious illness; Richard quarrels with Queen Elizabeth, her brother,…

Act 1, scene 4

Richard’s agents murder the imprisoned Clarence.

Act 2, scene 1

The dying King Edward IV attempts to reconcile the quarreling factions in his royal court. Queen Elizabeth and her kindred,…

Act 2, scene 2

As the Duchess of York mourns Clarence’s death, Queen Elizabeth enters grieving for the death of King Edward IV. Richard…

Act 2, scene 3

Three citizens discuss the possibly tumultuous succession of Prince Edward.

Act 2, scene 4

As Queen Elizabeth awaits the coming of Prince Edward, news arrives that Richard has imprisoned her brother Rivers, her son…

Act 3, scene 1

Richard and Buckingham arrive in London with Prince Edward and order that Edward’s brother, the Duke of York, be taken…

Act 3, scene 2

Responding to Catesby, Hastings flatly refuses to support Richard’s bid for the throne, and takes great satisfaction in the news…

Act 3, scene 3

The Queen’s brother Rivers, her son Grey, and Sir Thomas Vaughan are led to execution. They recall Margaret’s curse, and…

Act 3, scene 4

A council of lords meets to plan the coronation of Edward V. Richard, learning from Buckingham of Hastings’ refusal to…

Act 3, scene 5

Richard and Buckingham excuse the summary execution of Hastings to the Mayor of London by staging an “uprising” that they…

Act 3, scene 6

The professional scribe who has just finished transcribing Hastings’ indictment shows how the charge against Hastings had been prepared and…

Act 3, scene 7

Richard and Buckingham, having failed to persuade London’s officials and citizens that Richard should be king, stage a scene of…

Act 4, scene 1

Queen Elizabeth, her son Dorset, and the Duchess of York meet Lady Anne and Clarence’s daughter as all approach the…

Act 4, scene 2

The newly crowned Richard asks Buckingham to arrange the deaths of Prince Edward and the Duke of York. When Buckingham…

Act 4, scene 3

Tyrrel reports the deaths of Edward IV’s sons. Richard then reveals that Anne is dead and that he will now…

Act 4, scene 4

Queen Margaret, Queen Elizabeth, and the Duchess of York grieve for their dead. Richard enters on his way to confront…

Act 4, scene 5

Lord Stanley sends news to Richmond, whose army is marching on London: Stanley will be unable to help because Richard…

Act 5, scene 1

Buckingham is led to execution.

Act 5, scene 2

Richmond and his army march against Richard.

Act 5, scene 3

Richard and Richmond and their supporters prepare for battle. Asleep, Richard and Richmond are each visited by the ghosts of…

Act 5, scene 4

In battle Richard has been unhorsed and faces defeat.

Act 5, scene 5

Richmond kills Richard and is given the crown that he will wear as King Henry VII. His coming marriage to…

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 1
Flourish. Enter King Edward, sick, Queen Elizabeth,
Lord Marquess Dorset, Rivers, Hastings, Buckingham,
Woodeville, Grey, and Scales.


KING EDWARD 
 Why, so. Now have I done a good day’s work.
 You peers, continue this united league.
 I every day expect an embassage
 From my Redeemer to redeem me hence,
5 And more in peace my soul shall part to heaven
 Since I have made my friends at peace on Earth.
 Rivers and Hastings, take each other’s hand.
 Dissemble not your hatred. Swear your love.
RIVERS, taking Hastings’ hand 
 By heaven, my soul is purged from grudging hate,
10 And with my hand I seal my true heart’s love.
HASTINGS 
 So thrive I as I truly swear the like.
KING EDWARD 
 Take heed you dally not before your king,
 Lest He that is the supreme King of kings
 Confound your hidden falsehood and award
15 Either of you to be the other’s end.
HASTINGS 
 So prosper I as I swear perfect love.
93

95
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 1

RIVERS 
 And I as I love Hastings with my heart.
KING EDWARD, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Madam, yourself is not exempt from this,—
 Nor you, son Dorset,—Buckingham, nor you.
20 You have been factious one against the other.—
 Wife, love Lord Hastings. Let him kiss your hand,
 And what you do, do it unfeignedly.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 There, Hastings, I will never more remember
 Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine.
Hastings kisses her hand.
KING EDWARD 
25 Dorset, embrace him.—Hastings, love Lord
 Marquess.
DORSET 
 This interchange of love, I here protest,
 Upon my part shall be inviolable.
HASTINGS And so swear I.They embrace.
KING EDWARD 
30 Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
 With thy embracements to my wife’s allies
 And make me happy in your unity.
BUCKINGHAM, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
 Upon your Grace, but with all duteous love
35 Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me
 With hate in those where I expect most love.
 When I have most need to employ a friend,
 And most assurèd that he is a friend,
 Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile
40 Be he unto me: this do I beg of God,
 When I am cold in love to you or yours.
Queen Elizabeth and Buckingham embrace.
KING EDWARD 
 A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,

97
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
 There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here
45 To make the blessèd period of this peace.
BUCKINGHAM And in good time
 Here comes Sir Richard Ratcliffe and the Duke.

Enter Ratcliffe, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

RICHARD 
 Good morrow to my sovereign king and queen,
 And, princely peers, a happy time of day.
KING EDWARD 
50 Happy indeed, as we have spent the day.
 Gloucester, we have done deeds of charity,
 Made peace of enmity, fair love of hate,
 Between these swelling, wrong-incensèd peers.
RICHARD 
 A blessèd labor, my most sovereign lord.
55 Among this princely heap, if any here
 By false intelligence or wrong surmise
 Hold me a foe,
 If I unwittingly, or in my rage,
 Have aught committed that is hardly borne
60 By any in this presence, I desire
 To reconcile me to his friendly peace.
 ’Tis death to me to be at enmity;
 I hate it, and desire all good men’s love.
 First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,
65 Which I will purchase with my duteous service;—
 Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,
 If ever any grudge were lodged between us;—
 Of you and you, Lord Rivers and of Dorset,
 That all without desert have frowned on me;—
70 Of you, Lord Woodeville and Lord Scales;—of you,
 Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.
 I do not know that Englishman alive
 With whom my soul is any jot at odds

99
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 1

 More than the infant that is born tonight.
75 I thank my God for my humility.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 A holy day shall this be kept hereafter.
 I would to God all strifes were well compounded.
 My sovereign lord, I do beseech your Highness
 To take our brother Clarence to your grace.
RICHARD 
80 Why, madam, have I offered love for this,
 To be so flouted in this royal presence?
 Who knows not that the gentle duke is dead?
They all start.
 You do him injury to scorn his corse.
KING EDWARD 
 Who knows not he is dead! Who knows he is?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
85 All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!
BUCKINGHAM 
 Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?
DORSET 
 Ay, my good lord, and no man in the presence
 But his red color hath forsook his cheeks.
KING EDWARD 
 Is Clarence dead? The order was reversed.
RICHARD 
90 But he, poor man, by your first order died,
 And that a wingèd Mercury did bear.
 Some tardy cripple bare the countermand,
 That came too lag to see him burièd.
 God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
95 Nearer in bloody thoughts, and not in blood,
 Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
 And yet go current from suspicion.

Enter Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby.


101
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 1

STANLEY, kneeling 
 A boon, my sovereign, for my service done.
KING EDWARD 
 I prithee, peace. My soul is full of sorrow.
STANLEY 
100 I will not rise unless your Highness hear me.
KING EDWARD 
 Then say at once what is it thou requests.
STANLEY 
 The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant’s life,
 Who slew today a riotous gentleman
 Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.
KING EDWARD 
105 Have I a tongue to doom my brother’s death,
 And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave?
 My brother killed no man; his fault was thought,
 And yet his punishment was bitter death.
 Who sued to me for him? Who, in my wrath,
110 Kneeled at my feet, and bade me be advised?
 Who spoke of brotherhood? Who spoke of love?
 Who told me how the poor soul did forsake
 The mighty Warwick and did fight for me?
 Who told me, in the field at Tewkesbury,
115 When Oxford had me down, he rescued me,
 And said “Dear brother, live, and be a king”?
 Who told me, when we both lay in the field
 Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
 Even in his garments and did give himself,
120 All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night?
 All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
 Sinfully plucked, and not a man of you
 Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
 But when your carters or your waiting vassals
125 Have done a drunken slaughter and defaced
 The precious image of our dear Redeemer,

103
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 2

 You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon,
 And I, unjustly too, must grant it you.
Stanley rises.
 But for my brother, not a man would speak,
130 Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
 For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
 Have been beholding to him in his life,
 Yet none of you would once beg for his life.
 O God, I fear Thy justice will take hold
135 On me and you, and mine and yours for this!—
 Come, Hastings, help me to my closet.—
 Ah, poor Clarence.
Some exit with King and Queen.
RICHARD 
 This is the fruits of rashness. Marked you not
 How that the guilty kindred of the Queen
140 Looked pale when they did hear of Clarence’ death?
 O, they did urge it still unto the King.
 God will revenge it. Come, lords, will you go
 To comfort Edward with our company?
BUCKINGHAM We wait upon your Grace.
They exit.