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Richard III
Act 4, scene 2

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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 2
Sound a sennet. Enter Richard in pomp; Buckingham,
Catesby, Ratcliffe, Lovell, and others, including a Page.


RICHARD 
 Stand all apart.—Cousin of Buckingham.
The others move aside.
BUCKINGHAM My gracious sovereign.
RICHARD 
 Give me thy hand.
Here he ascendeth the throne. Sound trumpets.
 Thus high, by thy advice
5 And thy assistance is King Richard seated.
 But shall we wear these glories for a day,
 Or shall they last and we rejoice in them?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Still live they, and forever let them last.
RICHARD 
 Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,
10 To try if thou be current gold indeed:
 Young Edward lives; think now what I would speak.

207
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 2

BUCKINGHAM Say on, my loving lord.
RICHARD 
 Why, Buckingham, I say I would be king.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Why so you are, my thrice-renownèd lord.
RICHARD 
15 Ha! Am I king? ’Tis so—but Edward lives.
BUCKINGHAM 
 True, noble prince.
RICHARD  O bitter consequence
 That Edward still should live “true noble prince”!
 Cousin, thou wast not wont to be so dull.
20 Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead,
 And I would have it suddenly performed.
 What sayst thou now? Speak suddenly. Be brief.
BUCKINGHAM Your Grace may do your pleasure.
RICHARD 
 Tut, tut, thou art all ice; thy kindness freezes.
25 Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Give me some little breath, some pause, dear lord,
 Before I positively speak in this.
 I will resolve you herein presently.
Buckingham exits.
CATESBY, aside to the other Attendants 
 The King is angry. See, he gnaws his lip.
RICHARD, aside 
30 I will converse with iron-witted fools
 And unrespective boys. None are for me
 That look into me with considerate eyes.
 High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.—
 Boy!
PAGE, coming forward 35My lord?
RICHARD 
 Know’st thou not any whom corrupting gold
 Will tempt unto a close exploit of death?

209
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 2

PAGE 
 I know a discontented gentleman
 Whose humble means match not his haughty spirit.
40 Gold were as good as twenty orators,
 And will, no doubt, tempt him to anything.
RICHARD 
 What is his name?
PAGE  His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
RICHARD 
 I partly know the man. Go, call him hither, boy.
Page exits.
45 Aside. The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
 No more shall be the neighbor to my counsels.
 Hath he so long held out with me, untired,
 And stops he now for breath? Well, be it so.

Enter Stanley.

 How now, Lord Stanley, what’s the news?
STANLEY 50Know, my loving lord,
 The Marquess Dorset, as I hear, is fled
 To Richmond, in the parts where he abides.
He walks aside.
RICHARD 
 Come hither, Catesby. Rumor it abroad
 That Anne my wife is very grievous sick.
55 I will take order for her keeping close.
 Inquire me out some mean poor gentleman,
 Whom I will marry straight to Clarence’ daughter.
 The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.
 Look how thou dream’st! I say again, give out
60 That Anne my queen is sick and like to die.
 About it, for it stands me much upon
 To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.
Catesby exits.
 Aside. I must be married to my brother’s daughter,
 Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.

211
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 2

65 Murder her brothers, and then marry her—
 Uncertain way of gain. But I am in
 So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin.
 Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.

Enter Tyrrel.

 Is thy name Tyrrel?
TYRREL 
70 James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject.
RICHARD 
 Art thou indeed?
TYRREL  Prove me, my gracious lord.
RICHARD 
 Dar’st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?
TYRREL 
 Please you. But I had rather kill two enemies.
RICHARD 
75 Why then, thou hast it. Two deep enemies,
 Foes to my rest, and my sweet sleep’s disturbers,
 Are they that I would have thee deal upon.
 Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.
TYRREL 
 Let me have open means to come to them,
80 And soon I’ll rid you from the fear of them.
RICHARD 
 Thou sing’st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel.
Tyrrel approaches Richard and kneels.
 Go, by this token. Rise, and lend thine ear.
Tyrrel rises, and Richard whispers
to him. Then Tyrrel steps back.

 There is no more but so. Say it is done,
 And I will love thee and prefer thee for it.
TYRREL 85I will dispatch it straight.He exits.

Enter Buckingham.


213
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 2

BUCKINGHAM 
 My lord, I have considered in my mind
 The late request that you did sound me in.
RICHARD 
 Well, let that rest. Dorset is fled to Richmond.
BUCKINGHAM I hear the news, my lord.
RICHARD 
90 Stanley, he is your wife’s son. Well, look unto it.
BUCKINGHAM 
 My lord, I claim the gift, my due by promise,
 For which your honor and your faith is pawned—
 Th’ earldom of Hereford and the movables
 Which you have promisèd I shall possess.
RICHARD 
95 Stanley, look to your wife. If she convey
 Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it.
BUCKINGHAM 
 What says your Highness to my just request?
RICHARD 
 I do remember me, Henry the Sixth
 Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
100 When Richmond was a little peevish boy.
 A king perhaps—
BUCKINGHAM My lord—
RICHARD 
 How chance the prophet could not at that time
 Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him?
BUCKINGHAM 
105 My lord, your promise for the earldom—
RICHARD 
 Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,
 The Mayor in courtesy showed me the castle
 And called it Rougemont, at which name I started,
 Because a bard of Ireland told me once
110 I should not live long after I saw Richmond.
BUCKINGHAM My lord—

215
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 3

RICHARD Ay, what’s o’clock?
BUCKINGHAM 
 I am thus bold to put your Grace in mind
 Of what you promised me.
RICHARD 115Well, but what’s o’clock?
BUCKINGHAM Upon the stroke of ten.
RICHARD Well, let it strike.
BUCKINGHAM Why let it strike?
RICHARD 
 Because that, like a jack, thou keep’st the stroke
120 Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.
 I am not in the giving vein today.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Why then, resolve me whether you will or no.
RICHARD 
 Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.
He exits, and is followed by all but Buckingham.
BUCKINGHAM 
 And is it thus? Repays he my deep service
125 With such contempt? Made I him king for this?
 O, let me think on Hastings and be gone
 To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on!
He exits.