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Abridged Richard III/#1/Ruthless/Act 1, Scene 1

The play opens with Richard, Duke of Gloucester, alone on
stage.  Now and then Richard is referred
to as Gloucester.  He is also referred to
as Crookback Richard.  It is his
play.  This play is the last in this
series, Shakespeare using it to end a dark period in English history. Richard
lets us know in a physical sense how he thinks of himself, saying “I cheated of
feature by dissembling nature, sent before my time into this breathing world
scarce half made up.”  He lays out his
plans, saying “I am determined to prove a villain.  Plots have I laid to set my brother Clarence
and the King in deadly hate.  Dive,
thoughts, down to my soul.” Richard is the youngest of the three remaining
Plantagenet brothers.  His brother
Clarence, guarded, enters.  Richard asks
“What means this armed guard?”  Clarence
replies “His Majesty hath for my safety conveyed me to the Tower.”  Richard asks “May I know why?”  Clarence says “I protest as yet I do
not.”  Richard says “Why, this it is when
men are ruled by women. ‘Tis not the King; ‘tis the Lady Grey, his wife, Clarence,
who guides him to this extremity.  We are
not safe, Clarence.”  The guard jumps in,
saying “His Majesty hath straitly given in charge that no man shall have
private conference with your brother.”
Richard says to his brother, “Your imprisonment shall not be long. Have
patience.”  Clarence and the guard exit.
Richard tells us “Simple, plain Clarence, I do love thee so that I will shortly
send thy soul to heaven.”  Lord Hastings
enters.  Richard asks “What news
abroad?”  Hastings says “No news so bad
abroad as this at home.”  Hastings lets Richard
know that “the King is sickly, weak, and melancholy.”  Richard says he’s had “an evil way of living
for a long time,” and asks “Where is he, in his bed?”  Hastings says “he is” and exits.  Richard, alone on stage, tells us “He cannot
live, I hope, and must not die till Clarence be packed and sent to
heaven.”  He says “Clarence hath not
another day to live.”  Richard has told
us that as soon as Edward and Clarence are dead “I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest
daughter (Warwick was the ‘Kingmaker’ and died in the last play), though I
killed her husband (Prince Edward, Henry VI’s son) and her father-in-law (Henry
VI).”  Richard is ruthless, ambitious, confident,
and uniquely sinister.  He tells us “I
will marry her not all so much for love as for another secret intent.”  He tells us “yet I run before my horse to
market.”  He says “Clarence still
breathes; Edward still lives and reigns.
When they are gone, then must I count my gains.”

Abridged Richard III/#2/Convincing/Act 1, Scene 2

The scene opens in St. Paul’s Cathedral where Lady Anne is
mourning the loss of her father-in-law, the late Henry VI.  Lady Anne was the younger daughter of Warwick
(the “Kingmaker”) and the widow of Prince Edward, Henry VI’s only son and child.
Richard has killed both of them.  Richard enters.  Anne and Richard trade insults.  Richard ends up acknowledging that he killed her
father-in-law,  but claims his brother
Edward killed her husband, Prince Edward.
He audaciously says “Is not the causer of these timeless deaths as
blameful as the executioner?”  She says
“Thou wast the cause.”  He responds “Your
beauty was the cause of that effect —- your beauty did haunt me in my
sleep.  He that did deprive thee, lady,
of thy husband did it to help thee to a better husband.”  She says “His better doth not breathe upon
the earth.”  He says he is “here.”  She says “out of my sight! Thou dost infect
mine eyes.”  He offers her his sword and
says “If thy revengeful heart cannot forgive, let the soul forth that adoreth
thee.”  Anne says “Though I wish thy
death, I will not be thy executioner.”
He offers to kill himself.  She
says “I would I knew thy heart.”  He says
“Shall I live in hope?”  Anne says “All
men I hope live so.”  He says “Accept to
wear this ring.”  She says “To take is
not to give.”  He says “Look how my ring
encompasseth thy finger; but if thy poor devoted servant may but beg one favor
at thy gracious hand, thou dost confirm his happiness forever.”  She asks “What is it?”  He says “That you leave these sad designs to
him that hath most cause to be a mourner.”
She buys into his argument, saying “With all my heart it joys me to see
you are become so penitent.”  Anne
exits.  The casket is taken up.  He quietly rejoices at having won her, but
soon says “I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long.”  He provides a soliloquy, wanting us to know
rhetorically how in the world he could have won her.  He offers a glowing account of Prince Edward,
her late husband.  He says “I’ll
entertain a score of two of tailors to study fashions to adorn my body.”

Abridged Richard III/#3/Confrontation/Act 1, Scene 3.1

Queen Elizabeth, Edward IV’s wife; her brother, Lord
Rivers; and her two sons by her former marriage, Grey and Dorset, are on
stage.  She is worried about the health
of her husband; the men console her.
Lords Buckingham and Stanley enter.
Stanley reports that they “art come from visiting his Majesty” and tells
her that “He desires to make atonement between the Duke of Gloucester and your
brothers.” Richard enters, asking “who is that complains unto the King that I,
forsooth, am stern and love them not.”
Grey asks “Who in all this presence speaks your Grace?”  Richard replies “To thee, that hast not
honesty nor grace. A plague upon you all.”
Defending her family, Elizabeth says “The King is not provoked by any
suitor else.”  Richard says “I cannot
tell.”  She says “Come, you envy my
advancement and my friends’.  God grant
we never may have need of you.”  Richard
snaps “Our brother (Clarence) is imprisoned by your means, myself disgraced.”  She says “My lord, you do me shameful injury
falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.” Rivers and Richard taunt each
other.  Queen Elizabeth says “I have too
long borne your blunt upbraiding and your bitter scoffs. By heaven, I will
acquaint his Majesty of those gross taunts that oft I have endured.”  Queen Margaret enters, unseen by the
others.  Richard yells “What, threat you
me with telling of the King?”  Aside,
Margaret says “Out devil! Thou killed’st my husband Henry in the Tower, and
Edward, my poor son, at Tewksbury.”
Richard and Elizabeth continue to argue.
Ever the chameleon, Richard says “I would to God my heart were flint,
like Edward’s, or Edward’s soft and pitiful, like mine.  I am too childish-foolish for this
world.”  She cries “Leave this world,
thou evil spirit.  There thy kingdom
is.”  Rivers says “We followed our
sovereign king.  So should we you, if you
should be our king.”  Richard responds
quickly, saying “If I should be?  I had
rather be a peddler.”  Queen Margaret
steps forward.

Abridged Richard III/#4/Machiavellian/Act 1, Scene 3.2

Having secretly listened in on the conversations,
Margaret, Henry VI’s queen, steps out, saying “Hear me, you wrangling pirates,
quaking rebels; do not turn away.”
Richard shouts “Foul, wrinkled witch, what mak’st thou in my sight?  Wert thou not banished on pain of
death?”  She replies “I was. A husband
and a son thou ow’st to me.”  Richard
then relives the scene where she killed his father.  She snaps “What, were you snarling all before
I came, ready to catch each other by the throat, and turn you all your hatred
now on me?”  She goes on to wish
Elizabeth ill luck, suggesting she “die neither mother, wife, nor England’s
queen.”  She says to Richard “Stay, dog,
and thou shalt hear me.”  She proceeds to
treat Richard harshly.  She aggressively
argues with Elizabeth and Rivers and Dorset. Dorset says to Rivers “Dispute not
with her; she is lunatic.”  Richard
calmly stands above the fray.  Buckingham
tries to calm her, saying “Peace, peace, for shame, if not for charity.”  Margaret says “My charity is outrage, life my
shame.  And in that shame still lives my
sorrows’ rage.”  She and Buckingham have
a pleasant conversation.  She warns him
to “take heed of yonder dog; when he fawns, he bites; and when he bites, his
venom tooth will rankle to the death. Beware of him.”  Richard doesn’t hear her comments.  She exits.
A Messenger enters, saying “Madam, his Majesty doth call for your Grace,
and yours, my gracious lords.”  All exit but
Richard.  He tells us “I will tell the
lords ‘tis the Queen and her allies that stir the King against the Duke
(Clarence) my brother.”  Two Murderers
enter.  Richard gives them a paper.  He tells them to “be sudden in the execution,
for Clarence is well-spoken and perhaps may move your hearts to pity if you
listen to him.”  A Murderer says “Talkers
are no good doers.  Be assured we go to
use our hands and not our tongues.”
Richard says “I like you lads.
About your business straight.  Go,
go, dispatch.”

Abridged Richard III/#5/Murder/Act 1, Scene 4

Clarence and a Keeper are on stage, Clarence telling his
Keeper at length of his “miserable night of fearful dreams.”  He says “I passed, methought, unto the
kingdom of perpetual night.  I trembled
waked, and for a while after could not believe but that I was in hell.”  The Keeper says “I am afraid to hear you tell
it.”  Clarence says “Keeper, I prithee
sit by me awhile.  My soul is heavy, and
I fain would sleep.”  Clarence
sleeps.  Brakenbury the Lieutenant
enters, followed by two Murderers.  They
hand Brakenbury their commission.
Brakenbury tells us “I am in this commanded to deliver the noble Duke of
Clarence to your hands.”  He hands them
the keys.  Brakenbury and the Keeper
exit.  The Murderers move towards a
sleeping Clarence.  The Second Murderer
says “Come, shall we fall to work?”  The
First Murderer says “No, we’ll reason with him.”  Clarence wakes.  Clarence asks the men “Wherefore do you
come?”  The Second says “To, to, to
—.”  Clarence says “To murder me?”  They both say “Ay, ay.”  The three of them talk.  The First says “What we will do, we do upon
command.”  The Second says “And he that
hath commanded is our king.”  Clarence
tries to talk them out of their mission.
They throw back the misdeeds of the Plantagenet brothers in past
plays.  Clarence says “if you are hired
for reward, I will send you to my brother Gloucester (Richard), who shall
reward you better for my life than Edward will for tidings of my death.’  The Second replies “Your brother Gloucester
hates you.”  Clarence says “O no, he
loves me.  Go you to him from me.”  The First says “Ay, so we will.”  Clarence says “If Gloucester think of this
(murder), he will weep.”  The First says
“Come, you deceive yourself. ‘Tis he that sends us to destroy you here.”  Clarence says “It cannot be.”  The Second says “Make peace with God, for you
must die, my lord.”  Clarence cries “They
that set you on to do this deed will hate you for the deed.”  The Second says to the First “What shall we
do?”  Clarence cries “Relent, and save
your souls.”  The First says “Relent? No.
‘Tis cowardly and womanish.”  Clarence
says to the Second “My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks. Come thou on my
side and implore for me.”  The First
stabs him and exits with the body.  The
Second says “How willing, like Pilate, would I wash my hands of this most
grievous murder.”  The First re-enters,
and says “the Duke shall know how slack you have been.”  The Second says “I would he knew that I had
saved his brother. Take the fee, and tell him what I say.”  He exits.
The First says “When I have my reward, I will away. For this will out,
and then I must not stay.”

Abridged Richard III/#6/Disclosure/Act 2, Scene 1

We find the sick king attended by the queen, her family,
and Hastings and Buckingham.  The king
says “You peers, continue this united league.
Rivers and Hastings, take each other’s hand.  Swear your love.  Wife, love Lord Hastings. Let him kiss your
hand.”  He does.  Buckingham has nice things to say.  He and the queen embrace.  Richard enters.  Edward tells him this has been a moment of
happiness and peace. Richard says “I desire to reconcile me to his friendly
peace. First, madam, I entreat true peace of you, and of you, Rivers and
Dorset, of you, dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.  I thank my God for my humility.”  Elizabeth says “My sovereign lord, I do
beseech your Highness to take our brother Clarence to your grace.”  Richard jumps in, saying “I offer love for
this, to be so flouted in this royal presence?
Who knows not that the gentle duke is dead?”  They’re shocked.  King Edward says “Who knows he is?  Is Clarence dead?  The order was reversed.”  Richard infers that Clarence died at the hands
of the queen and her blood relatives.
Lord Stanley enters with a request.
Edward asks “What is it thou requests?”
Stanley says “the release from the death penalty of my servant who slew
a belligerent man, who recently was an attendant to Norfolk.” An angry King
Edward cries “Have I a tongue to doom my brother’s death, and shall that tongue
give pardon to a slave?”  Edward praises
Clarence, recounting treasured moments in their lives.  He pardons Stanley’s servant.  He says “Come, Hastings, help me to my
chamber.  Ah, poor Clarence.”  The King, Queen and others exit.  Richard remains and says to Buckingham
“Marked you not how the guilty kindred of the Queen looked pale when they did
hear of Clarence’s death?  God will
revenge it.”  Buckingham says “We wait
upon your Grace.”

Abridged Richard III/#7/Griefs/Act 2, Scene 2

The Duchess of York, the Plantagenet brothers’ mother,
enters with Clarence’s children.  She
says “No” when the Boy asks “Is our father dead?”  The Boy then asks “Why do you look on us and
shake your head and call us orphans if our noble father were alive?”  The Duchess replies “I do lament the sickness
of the King, not your father’s death.”
Boy then says “Then, you conclude, my grandam, he is dead.  The King mine uncle is to blame for it.”  She replies “You cannot guess who caused your
father’s death.”  Boy says “Grandam, we
can, for my good uncle Gloucester told me the King, provoked to it by the
Queen, devised impeachments to imprison him.”
She says “That deceit should with a virtuous visor hide deep vice.  He is my son, ay, and therein my shame.”  Queen Elizabeth enters; her hair about her
ears.  She cries “Edward, my lord, thy
son, our king, is dead.”  The Duchess
relives the griefs in her life.  Boy says
to Queen Elizabeth “Ah, aunt, you wept not for our father’s death.”  Elizabeth replies “Give me no help in
lamentation.  Was never widow had so dear
a loss.”  The Children say “Were never
orphans had so dear a loss.”  The Duchess
says “Was never mother had so dear a loss. I am the mother of these
griefs.”  Rivers, Elizabeth’s brother,
says “Madam, bethink you, like a careful mother of the young prince your son.
Send straight for him.  Let him be
crowned.”  Listening to it all, Richard says “All of us have cause to wail the dimming of our shining star, but none can help our harms by wailing them.”
Buckingham says “It seems to me with a small entourage from Ludlow the
young prince be brought hither to London, to be crowned our king.”  All but Buckingham and Richard exit.  Buckingham says “My lord, whoever journeys to
the Prince, for God’s sake let not us two stay home.”  Richard responds “I will go by thy direction
toward Ludlow then, for we’ll not stay behind.”

Abridged Richard III/#8/Fear/Act 2, Scene 4

An Archbishop, Queen Elizabeth, her youngest son (the
Duke of York), and the Duchess are on stage.
The Archbishop says “They do rest tonight at Northampton.  Tomorrow or next day they will be here.”  The Queen, Duchess and young York have a
pleasant conversation, mostly about growing up.
A Messenger enters.  The Duchess
asks “What is the news?”  The Messenger
says “Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret (a prison).  The Queen asks “Who hath committed
them?”  He says “The mighty dukes,
Gloucester and Buckingham.  I have
disclosed the sum of all I can.”  Queen
Elizabeth cries “Ay me! I see the ruin of my house.  Welcome, destruction, blood, and
massacre.  I see, as in a map, the end of
all.”  The Duchess says “O, preposterous
and frantic outrage; end thy violent ill-nature, or let me die, to look on
earth no more.”  Elizabeth grabs her son,
saying “Come, come, my boy.  We will to
sanctuary.”  The Archbishop says “My
gracious lady, go, and thither bear your treasure and your goods.  For my part, I’ll resign unto your Grace the
Great Seal of England I keep. Go. I’ll conduct you to the sanctuary.”

Abridged Richard III/#9/Conspiracy/Act 3, Scene 1

Richard, Buckingham, Catesby and the Cardinal welcome you
young Prince Edward to London, Richard noting that the Edward looks
“melancholy.”  The Prince says “No,
uncle, I want more uncles here to welcome me.”
Richard replies “God keep you from them, and from such false friends.”  Hastings enters.  The Prince asks “What, will our mother
come?”  Hastings replies “The Queen your
mother and your brother York have taken sanctuary.”  Buckingham asks the Cardinal to “persuade the
Queen to send the Duke of York unto his princely brother presently.”  The Cardinal says “we should not infringe the
holy privilege of blessed sanctuary,” but leaves with Hastings.  Richard says to the young Prince “Your Highness
shall rest at the Tower.”  Hastings and
the Cardinal enter with the young Duke of York.
York and Richard have a very well-reasoned conversation; Shakespeare,
through these conversations, letting us know what leaders these boys would have
been.  Richard tells York that he and
Buckingham “will to your mother to ask her to meet you at the Tower and welcome
you.”  York asks his brother “Will you to
unto the Tower?”  Prince Edward replies
“My Lord Protector will have it so,” Richard being the Lord Protector.  Hastings leads both boys to London’s
Tower.  Richard, Buckingham and Catesby
remain and talk.  Catesby tells the other
two that he doesn’t believe that Hastings or Stanley will harm the boys.  Buckingham asks Catesby to “sound thou Lord
Hastings how he doth stand affected to our purpose.”  Catesby exits.  Buckingham says to Richard “What shall we do
if we perceive Lord Hastings will not yield to our conspiracies.”  Richard says “Chop off his head.”  Richard goes on to tell Buckingham “And look
when I am king, claim thou me the earldom of Hereford, and all the movable
possessions whereof the King my brother was possessed.”  Buckingham replies “I’ll claim that promise
at your Grace’s hand.”  Richard says “Let
us sup early, that afterwards we may digest our plots in some form.”

Abridged Richard III/#10/Execution/Act 3, Scenes 2-3

The scene opens in the middle of the night, when a
Messenger wakens Hastings, telling him that Stanley, having had bad dreams,
can’t sleep and wants to see him.
Hastings tells the Messenger to “Go, bid thy master rise and come to me,
and we will both together to the Tower.
Catesby enters. Hastings asks him “What news?”  Catesby says “I believe the world will never
stand upright till Richard wear the garland of the realm.”  Hastings asks “How ‘wear the garland’?”  Catesby says “Ay.”  Hastings responds “I’ll have this crown of
mine cut from my shoulders before I’ll see the crown so foul misplaced?  Doth he so aim at it?”  Catesby says “Ay, on my life.  He sends you this good news; this same very
day your enemies, the kindred of the Queen, must die at Pomfret.”  Hastings says “I am no mourner for that
news.  But, I’ll give my voice on
Richard’s side to bar from the crown the heirs truly descended from Edward
IV.”  Stanley enters and asks Hastings
“Shall we toward the Tower?  The day is
underway.”  A state messenger
enters.  Hastings says to other two “Go
on before.  I’ll talk with this good
fellow.”  Stanley and Catesby exit.  Hastings doesn’t give the messenger a chance
to speak, saying “I tell thee, this day those enemies are put to death, and I
in better state than e’er I was.”  The
Messenger exits.  Buckingham enters and
says “Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest.”  Hastings says “What, go you toward the
Tower?”  Buckingham says “I do, my lord
but long I cannot stay there.”  Hastings
says “I stay dinner there.”  Aside,
Buckingham says “And supper too, although thou know’st it not.”  They exit.
The scene shifts to Pomfret castle.
Richard Ratcliff, a Gloucester supporter, enters with Rivers and Grey
being led to death.  Ratcliff tells them
“The limit of your lives is out.”  Rivers
says “O Pomfret, fatal and ominous to noble peers!  Richard the Second here was hacked to
death.”  Grey says “Now Margaret’s curse
is fallen upon our heads.”  Ratcliffe
says “The hour of death is fully come.”
Rivers says “Come, Grey.  Let us
here embrace.  Farewell until we meet
again in heaven.”