Richard III Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


Richard III : Top Ten Quotes

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  1. “Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York.” Act 1, scene 1, lines 1-2)

    Richard speaks the opening lines of the play. The Yorkist cause has triumphed but Richard is not happy because he has no powerof his own. He therefore hatches plots to ensure that he ascends to the throne himself.

  2. . . Since I cannot prove a lover I am determined to prove a villain.”(Act 1, scene 1, lines 28, 30)

    Richard speaks in a soliloquy. He is explaining that he was not blessed with good looks and so has no ability to charm a woman, so instead he will choose villainy. He is already plotting to win the crown.

  3. But then I sigh, and, with a piece of Scripture, Tell them that God bids us to good for evil: And thus I clothe my naked villainy
    With old odd ends stolen forth of Holy Writ;
    And seem a saint, when most I play the Devil.”(Act 1, scene 3, lines 380-84)

    Richard revels in his hypocrisy. He has just put on a show of Christian forgiveness, playing the peacemaker in the royal court while in fact stirring up trouble that he hopes will lead to his advancement.

  4. So wise so young, they say, do never live long.”(Act 3, scene 1, line 89)

    Richard speaks in an aside. He has just informed the Prince of Wales that he will be staying in the Tower of London. The prince makes a wise remark about the continuance of truth from age to age, which produces this comment from Richard, which serves as a foreshadowing of the fate the young prince will meet.

  5. O momentary grace of mortal men. Which we more hunt for than the grace of God.! Who builds his hope in air of your good looks, Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,Ready with every nod to tumble down, Into the fatal bowels of the deep.”(Act 3, scene 4, lines 101-06)

    Hastings speaks. He is about to go to his execution and speaks here about the precarious nature of  human life. Men always look for moments of grace sent by God but never really have a moment of security.

  6. . . . I am in ,So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin.”Act 4, scene 2, lines 68-69)

    Richard speaks. He has decided to have the two princes in the Tower murdered and them to marry Elizabeth, the queen’s daughter. He says here that he has already committed so many crimes that one crime just gives rise to or incites (“pluck”) another.

  7. Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end.”(Act 4, scene 4, line 217)

    The Duchess of York, Richard’s mother, speaks about her son. In this scene the Duchess completely rejects her son. She knows his character well enough, and she says she will pray that he is defeated and killed in the upcoming battle.

  8. “The King’s name is a tower of strength.” (Act 5, scene 3, line 15)

    On the eve of the Battle of Bosworth, Richard is confident. Not only do his forces outnumber those of the enemy, but the fact that they are fighting for the king of England will give them even more power, or so Richard chooses to think.
  9. "My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,And every tongue brings in a several tale, And every tale condemns me for a villain."” (Act 5, scene 3, lines 220–22)

    Richard speaks on the morning of the Battle of Bosworth Field. He has just had a dream in which the ghosts of the people he has killed come to haunt him. For the only time in the play, his conscience about his evil deeds is awakened.

  10. “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”(Act 5, scene 4, line 7)

    Richard speaks at the Battle of Bosworth Field. His horse has been killed in the battle, and he has been continuing to fight on foot.


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