Saturday, December 13, 2014

Shakespeare Richard III

Richard III is a historical play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1592.  The play begins like this:
London. A street
  GLOUCESTER. Now is the winter of our discontent"

On the eve of the
Battle of Bosworth Field, Richard dreams that he's visited by the ghosts of some of his murder victims – Prince Edward, King Henry VI, Clarence, Rivers, Gray, Vaughan, the young princes, Hastings, Lady Anne, and Buckingham. (The stage sure gets crowded during this scene.)

Each of the ghosts recalls what Richard has done to them and condemns him to death on the battlefield. Each one chants "Despair and die" (5.5).
(Oh, and did we mention how the ghosts also pay Richmond a visit (in his dream, of course) in order to give the guy a pre-battle pep-talk? It's a terrifying moment, and Richard's pretty shaken up when he awakens. Check out his reaction:)
"Methought the souls of all that I had murder'd
Came to my tent; and every one did threat
To-morrow's vengeance on the head of Richard."
Shakespeare's point? It seems pretty clear that Richard's evil doings have come back to haunt him – literally.

Here's some of the text:
King Richard ii
British Museum

  • Richmond (Henry VII). Good lords, conduct him to his regiment: 3575
    I'll strive, with troubled thoughts, to take a nap,
    Lest leaden slumber peise me down to-morrow,
    When I should mount with wings of victory:
    Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.
    [Exeunt all but RICHMOND] 3580
    O Thou, whose captain I account myself,
    Look on my forces with a gracious eye;
    Put in their hands thy bruising irons of wrath,
    That they may crush down with a heavy fall
    The usurping helmets of our adversaries! 3585
    Make us thy ministers of chastisement,
    That we may praise thee in the victory!
    To thee I do commend my watchful soul,
    Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes:
    Sleeping and waking, O, defend me still!

  • [Sleeps]

[Enter the Ghost of Prince Edward, son to King Henry VI]
  • Prince Edward[To KING RICHARD III]
    Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
    Think, how thou stab'dst me in my prime of youth 3595
    At Tewksbury: despair, therefore, and die!
    Be cheerful, Richmond; for the wronged souls
    Of butcher'd princes fight in thy behalf
    King Henry's issue, Richmond, comforts thee.3600
[Enter the Ghost of King Henry VI]
    When I was mortal, my anointed body
    By thee was punched full of deadly holes
    Think on the Tower and me: despair, and die! 3605
    Harry the Sixth bids thee despair, and die!
    Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror!
    Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king,
    Doth comfort thee in thy sleep: live, and flourish!3610
[Enter the Ghost of CLARENCE]
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence)[To KING RICHARD III]
    Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
    I, that was wash'd to death with fulsome wine,
    Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death! 3615
    To-morrow in the battle think on me,
    And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!—
    Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster
    The wronged heirs of York do pray for thee 3620
    Good angels guard thy battle! live, and flourish!
[Enter the Ghosts of RIVERS, GRAY, and VAUGHAN]
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers[To KING RICHARD III]
    Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow,
    Rivers. that died at Pomfret! despair, and die!3625
  • Lord Grey[To KING RICHARD III]
    Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!
  • Sir Thomas Vaughan[To KING RICHARD III]
    Think upon Vaughan, and, with guilty fear,
    Let fall thy lance: despair, and die!3630
  • All[To RICHMOND]
    Awake, and think our wrongs in Richard's bosom
    Will conquer him! awake, and win the day!
[Enter the Ghost of HASTINGS]
  • Lord Hastings[To KING RICHARD III] 3635
    Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake,
    And in a bloody battle end thy days!
    Think on Lord Hastings: despair, and die!
    Quiet untroubled soul, awake, awake! 3640
    Arm, fight, and conquer, for fair England's sake!
[Enter the Ghosts of the two young Princes]
  • Princes[To KING RICHARD III]
    Dream on thy cousins smother'd in the Tower:
    Let us be led within thy bosom, Richard, 3645
    And weigh thee down to ruin, shame, and death!
    Thy nephews' souls bid thee despair and die!
    Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace, and wake in joy;
    Good angels guard thee from the boar's annoy! 3650
    Live, and beget a happy race of kings!
    Edward's unhappy sons do bid thee flourish.
[Enter the Ghost of LADY ANNE]
  • Lady Anne[To KING RICHARD III]
    Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife, 3655
    That never slept a quiet hour with thee,
    Now fills thy sleep with perturbations
    To-morrow in the battle think on me,
    And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!
    [To RICHMOND] 3660
    Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet sleep
    Dream of success and happy victory!
    Thy adversary's wife doth pray for thee.
[Enter the Ghost of BUCKINGHAM]
  • Duke of Buckingham[To KING RICHARD III] 3665
    The last was I that helped thee to the crown;
    The last was I that felt thy tyranny:
    O, in the battle think on Buckingham,
    And die in terror of thy guiltiness!
    Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death: 3670
    Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath!
    I died for hope ere I could lend thee aid:
    But cheer thy heart, and be thou not dismay'd:
    God and good angel fight on Richmond's side; 3675
    And Richard falls in height of all his pride.
[The Ghosts vanish]
[KING RICHARD III starts out of his dream]
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester)Give me another horse: bind up my wounds.
    Have mercy, Jesu!—Soft! I did but dream. 3680
    O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!
    The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.
    Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
    What do I fear? myself? there's none else by:
    Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I. 3685
    Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am:
    Then fly. What, from myself? Great reason why:
    Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?
    Alack. I love myself. Wherefore? for any good
    That I myself have done unto myself? 3690
    O, no! alas, I rather hate myself
    For hateful deeds committed by myself!
    I am a villain: yet I lie. I am not.
    Fool, of thyself speak well: fool, do not flatter.
    My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 3695
    And every tongue brings in a several tale,
    And every tale condemns me for a villain.
    Perjury, perjury, in the high'st degree
    Murder, stem murder, in the direst degree;
    All several sins, all used in each degree, 3700
    Throng to the bar, crying all, Guilty! guilty!
    I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;
    And if I die, no soul shall pity me:
    Nay, wherefore should they, since that I myself
    Find in myself no pity to myself? 3705
    Methought the souls of all that I had murder'd
    Came to my tent; and every one did threat
    To-morrow's vengeance on the head of Richard.

No comments: