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Richard III
Act 4, scene 1

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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…

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Scene 1
Enter Queen Elizabeth, with the Duchess of York, and
the Lord Marquess of Dorset, at one door; Anne,
Duchess of Gloucester with Clarence’s daughter, at
another door.


DUCHESS 
 Who meets us here? My niece Plantagenet
 Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester?
 Now, for my life, she’s wandering to the Tower,
 On pure heart’s love, to greet the tender prince.—
5 Daughter, well met.
ANNE  God give your Graces both
 A happy and a joyful time of day.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 As much to you, good sister. Whither away?
ANNE 
 No farther than the Tower, and, as I guess,
10 Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
 To gratulate the gentle princes there.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Kind sister, thanks. We’ll enter all together.

Enter Brakenbury, the Lieutenant.

 And in good time here the Lieutenant comes.—
 Master Lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,
15 How doth the Prince and my young son of York?
197

199
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 1

BRAKENBURY 
 Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
 I may not suffer you to visit them.
 The King hath strictly charged the contrary.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 The King? Who’s that?
BRAKENBURY 20 I mean, the Lord Protector.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 The Lord protect him from that kingly title!
 Hath he set bounds between their love and me?
 I am their mother. Who shall bar me from them?
DUCHESS 
 I am their father’s mother. I will see them.
ANNE 
25 Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother.
 Then bring me to their sights. I’ll bear thy blame
 And take thy office from thee, on my peril.
BRAKENBURY 
 No, madam, no. I may not leave it so.
 I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me.
Brakenbury the Lieutenant exits.

Enter Stanley.

STANLEY 
30 Let me but meet you ladies one hour hence,
 And I’ll salute your Grace of York as mother
 And reverend looker-on of two fair queens.
 To Anne. Come, madam, you must straight to
 Westminster,
35 There to be crownèd Richard’s royal queen.
QUEEN ELIZABETH Ah, cut my lace asunder
 That my pent heart may have some scope to beat,
 Or else I swoon with this dead-killing news!
ANNE 
 Despiteful tidings! O, unpleasing news!

201
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 1

DORSET, to Queen Elizabeth 
40 Be of good cheer, mother. How fares your Grace?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 O Dorset, speak not to me. Get thee gone.
 Death and destruction dogs thee at thy heels.
 Thy mother’s name is ominous to children.
 If thou wilt outstrip death, go, cross the seas,
45 And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell.
 Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughterhouse,
 Lest thou increase the number of the dead
 And make me die the thrall of Margaret’s curse,
 Nor mother, wife, nor England’s counted queen.
STANLEY 
50 Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.
 To Dorset. Take all the swift advantage of the
 hours.
 You shall have letters from me to my son
 In your behalf, to meet you on the way.
55 Be not ta’en tardy by unwise delay.
DUCHESS 
 O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
 O my accursèd womb, the bed of death!
 A cockatrice hast thou hatched to the world,
 Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
STANLEY, to Anne 
60 Come, madam, come. I in all haste was sent.
ANNE 
 And I with all unwillingness will go.
 O, would to God that the inclusive verge
 Of golden metal that must round my brow
 Were red-hot steel to sear me to the brains!
65 Anointed let me be with deadly venom,
 And die ere men can say “God save the Queen.”
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory.
 To feed my humor, wish thyself no harm.

203
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 1

ANNE 
 No? Why? When he that is my husband now
70 Came to me as I followed Henry’s corse,
 When scarce the blood was well washed from his
 hands
 Which issued from my other angel husband
 And that dear saint which then I weeping followed—
75 O, when, I say, I looked on Richard’s face,
 This was my wish: be thou, quoth I, accursed
 For making me, so young, so old a widow;
 And, when thou wedd’st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;
 And be thy wife, if any be so mad,
80 More miserable by the life of thee
 Than thou hast made me by my dear lord’s death.
 Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
 Within so small a time my woman’s heart
 Grossly grew captive to his honey words
85 And proved the subject of mine own soul’s curse,
 Which hitherto hath held my eyes from rest,
 For never yet one hour in his bed
 Did I enjoy the golden dew of sleep,
 But with his timorous dreams was still awaked.
90 Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick,
 And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Poor heart, adieu. I pity thy complaining.
ANNE 
 No more than with my soul I mourn for yours.
DORSET 
 Farewell, thou woeful welcomer of glory.
ANNE 
95 Adieu, poor soul that tak’st thy leave of it.
DUCHESS, to Dorset 
 Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee.
 To Anne. Go thou to Richard, and good angels
 tend thee.

205
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 2

 To Queen Elizabeth. Go thou to sanctuary, and
100 good thoughts possess thee.
 I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me.
 Eighty-odd years of sorrow have I seen,
 And each hour’s joy wracked with a week of teen.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.—
105 Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
 Whom envy hath immured within your walls—
 Rough cradle for such little pretty ones.
 Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow
 For tender princes, use my babies well.
110 So foolish sorrows bids your stones farewell.
They exit.