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Richard III
Act 4, scene 3

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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 3
Enter Tyrrel.

TYRREL 
 The tyrannous and bloody act is done,
 The most arch deed of piteous massacre
 That ever yet this land was guilty of.
 Dighton and Forrest, who I did suborn
5 To do this piece of ruthless butchery,
 Albeit they were fleshed villains, bloody dogs,
 Melted with tenderness and mild compassion,

217
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 3

 Wept like two children in their deaths’ sad story.
 “O thus,” quoth Dighton, “lay the gentle babes.”
10 “Thus, thus,” quoth Forrest, “girdling one another
 Within their alabaster innocent arms.
 Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
 And in their summer beauty kissed each other.
 A book of prayers on their pillow lay,
15 Which once, quoth Forrest, “almost changed my
 mind,
 But, O, the devil—” There the villain stopped;
 When Dighton thus told on: “We smotherèd
 The most replenishèd sweet work of nature
20 That from the prime creation e’er she framed.”
 Hence both are gone with conscience and remorse;
 They could not speak; and so I left them both
 To bear this tidings to the bloody king.

Enter Richard.

 And here he comes.—All health, my sovereign lord.
RICHARD 
25 Kind Tyrrel, am I happy in thy news?
TYRREL 
 If to have done the thing you gave in charge
 Beget your happiness, be happy then,
 For it is done.
RICHARD  But did’st thou see them dead?
TYRREL 
30 I did, my lord.
RICHARD  And buried, gentle Tyrrel?
TYRREL 
 The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them,
 But where, to say the truth, I do not know.
RICHARD 
 Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after-supper,
35 When thou shalt tell the process of their death.
 Meantime, but think how I may do thee good,

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Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 3

 And be inheritor of thy desire.
 Farewell till then.
TYRREL  I humbly take my leave.
Tyrrel exits.
RICHARD 
40 The son of Clarence have I pent up close,
 His daughter meanly have I matched in marriage,
 The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham’s bosom,
 And Anne my wife hath bid this world goodnight.
 Now, for I know the Breton Richmond aims
45 At young Elizabeth, my brother’s daughter,
 And by that knot looks proudly on the crown,
 To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.

Enter Ratcliffe.

RATCLIFFE My lord.
RICHARD 
 Good or bad news, that thou com’st in so bluntly?
RATCLIFFE 
50 Bad news, my lord. Morton is fled to Richmond,
 And Buckingham, backed with the hardy Welshmen,
 Is in the field, and still his power increaseth.
RICHARD 
 Ely with Richmond troubles me more near
 Than Buckingham and his rash-levied strength.
55 Come, I have learned that fearful commenting
 Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
 Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary;
 Then fiery expedition be my wing,
 Jove’s Mercury, and herald for a king.
60 Go, muster men. My counsel is my shield.
 We must be brief when traitors brave the field.
They exit.