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Elizabeth exclaims that Richard is slowly causing the ruin of the Plantagenet family. She also sees Richards plans unfold as he begins to stand out as a tyrant. ‘Aye me! I see the ruin of my house. The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind, Insulting tyranny begins to jut Upon the innocent and aweless throne. Welcome, destruction, blood and massacre. I see, as in a map, the end of all. ‘ Ironically Elizabeth is indeed predicting the future. At the bloody battle of Bosworth Field (scene 5) it is the end of the Plantagenet’s reign, as Richmond, a Tudor, becomes King.
Here Elizabeth refers to Richard as ‘the tiger’ this follows the seam of savage animal metaphors, others including ‘boar’. Shakespeare uses these to characterise and describe Richard’s deformity throughout the play. The death of Rivers (one of the nobles) is proof of how craftily Richard worked and manipulated his victims. In Act 1 Scene 3, Rivers praises Richard for being: ‘A Virtuous and Christian-like conclusion To pray for them that have done scathe to us’ However, the irony is that Richard then sends Rivers along with the other nobles to their deaths.
On the way to their deaths, Grey, another noble, and Rivers have a conversation about Margaret’s curse being the cause of their death. ‘GREY: Now Margaret’s curse is fall’n upon our heads When she exclaimed on Hastings, you and I For Standing by when Richard stabbed her son. RIVERS: Then cursed she Richard, Then cursed she Buckingham, Then cursed she Hastings.
O remember God,’ This shows how totally unaware of Richard’s plot and blame the cause of their deaths on Margaret. Richard brilliantly covered his tracks and plotted secretly and wittingly in order to gain access to the throne.
However, his Machiavellian ways ensure his downfall. Another victim of Richard’s, Hastings, is lulled into a false sense of security. Hastings is confident that Richard trusts and loves him. ‘I think there’s never a man in Christendom Can lesser hide his love or hate than he’ Unknowingly to Hastings, at the same meeting Richard and Buckingham discuss Hastings’ fate and accuse him of treachery. Richard orders his execution and it is then Hastings realises the truth and how he has missed the warnings including the warning from Buckingham at the beginning of the scene. ‘We know each other’s faces.
For our hearts He knows no more of mine than I of yours, Or I of his, my Lord, than you of mine. Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love’ We see this again when Richard turns against Buckingham in Act 4 Scene 2 because of his failure to organise the murder of the princes in the Tower. However, Buckingham heeds the warnings and manages to escape, although, later he is caught and executed. We see how great Richard is when Buckingham confronts the citizens of London in Act 3 Scene 5. Richard and Buckingham must convince the mayor that there was a just cause for executing Hastings.
They act fearful, pretending to be beset by enemies, saying that Hastings plotted against their lives. ‘Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian’ The mayor is taken by their story, which again shows the manipulative control Richard is able to have over people. ‘God and our innocency defend and guard us’ Buckingham’s plea to the mayor to protect them. This is ironic how Buckingham says the pair are innocent, whereas we know for a fact that they have already committed crimes far worse than Hastings supposed murder plot and they deserve to die because of this.
The mayor goes on to promote why Richard should be king by ‘inferring the bastardy of Richard’s children’. He has to convince the citizens that Richard is the rightful heir. He succeeds and Richard is then later proclaimed king at the end of Act 3. Still in Act 3 Scene 5, in his closing speech, Richard confirms his complete control over events. ‘Now will I go to take some privy order To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight, And to give order that no manner person Have any time recourse unto the princes’ Later, in Act 4 Scene 1, the women are refused entry to the Tower. They learn from Brakenbury that Richard is king.
In this scene the women lament Richard’s accession, we see the true feelings of other character towards Richard. ‘For never yet one hour in his bed Did I enjoy the golden dew of sleep, But with his timorous dreams was still awaked. And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me’ Anne is particularly scornful of her husband. Recounting how foolish she was to fall into Richard’s trap. She also tells us that she is a hindrance to Richard’s plot and believes that her death is soon, which unfortunately, for her, becomes true. As the pace of the play speeds up towards Richard’s dramatic downfall.
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