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Richard III

Written: 1592-93; Texts: Quarto 1597, 1598; First Folio 1623 (History)
Source: Holinshed, Raphael (c. 1528-c. 1580). The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (2nd ed., 1587); Hall, Edward (1498-1547). The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (1587 edition); More, Thomas. History of King Richard the Thirde. (1543); William Baldwin ed. The Mirror for Magistrates (1559 ed.)
Characters: Richard Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Buckingham, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Margaret, George Duke of Clarence, Lady Anne, Duchess of York, Lord Hastings, Henry Earl of Richmond, Lord Stanley
Setting: London
Time: AD 1477-1485

Richard III is the fourth play in the First Tetralogy, which was written between 1591 and 1595, comprises, in historical, not authorship order, Henry VI Part 1Henry VI Part 2, Henry VI Part 3, and Richard III. The second edition quarto of this play, printed in 1598, was the first Shakespeare play to bear his name on the title page.

Video: Jonjo O’Neill as Richard III

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Jonjo O’Neill as King Richard III, in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2012 production
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Richard III and the Sonnet

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“Now is the winter of our discontent” is nearly as familiar as Hamlet’s, “To be, or not to be” and Mark Antony’s, “Friends, Romans, countrymen”. Not one of these three passages is a dramatic dialogue. Mark Antony addresses a large Roman crowd in an extended speech. Hamlet muses to himself in a soliloquy while we the audience listen in. Richard, however,
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Sonnets in Romeo and Juliet

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Shakespeare, who had begun writing his sonnets sometime in the 1590’s, decided that the form would be useful in Romeo and Juliet. In fact, he wrote four sonnets in the play. The first, spoken by a chorus, opens Act 1. The second appears in Act 1, Scene 5, and it is dialogue spoken by Romeo and Juliet.
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Now is the winter of our discontent

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NowHyperbaton is the winter of our discontentMetaphor
Made glorious summerMetaphor by this son of York,Paronomasia
And all the clouds that louredMetaphor upon our houseMetonymy
In the deep bosom of the ocean MetaphorburiedHyperbaton & Ellipsis.
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How hath your Lordship brooked imprisonment?

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Richard
How hath your Lordship brooked imprisonment?
Hastings
With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must.
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
That were the cause of my imprisonment.
Richard
No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too,
For they that were your enemies are his
And have prevailed as much on him as you.
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Act 1
Scene 1
Line 129

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Set down, set down your honorable load

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Set down, set down your honorable load,Epimone
If honor may be shrouded in a hearse,Personification
Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
Th’ untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.
   They set down the bier.
Poor key-cold figure of a holy king,Alliteration
Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster,
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 1

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Stay, you that bear the corse, and set it down

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Richard
Stay, you that bear the corse, and set it down.
Anne
What black magician conjures up this fiend
To stop devoted charitable deeds?
Richard
Villains, set down the corse or, by Saint Paul,
I’ll make a corse of him that disobeys.
Gentleman
My lord, stand back and let the coffin pass.
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 34

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Lady, you know no rules of charity

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Richard
Lady, you know no rules of charity,
Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.
Anne
Villain, thou know’st nor law of God nor man.
No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.
Richard
But I know none, and therefore am no beast.

Villain, thou know’st nor law of God nor man.
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 72

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He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband

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Richard
He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband
Did it to help thee to a better husband.
Anne
His better doth not breathe upon the earth.
Richard
He lives that loves thee better than he could.
Anne
Name him.
Richard
Plantagenet.

My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word.
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 148

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Was ever woman in this humor wooed?

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Was ever woman in this humor wooed?
Was ever woman in this humor won?
I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long.
What, I that killed her husband and his father,
To take her in her heart’s extremest hate,
With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,
The bleeding witness of my hatred by,
Having God,
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 247

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Peace, Master Marquess, you are malapert

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Queen Margaret
Peace, Master Marquess, you are malapert.
Your fire-new stamp of honor is scarce current.
O, that your young nobility could judge
What ’twere to lose it and be miserable!
They that stand high have many blasts to shake them,
And if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.

They that stand high have many blasts to shake them,
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 271

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But then I sigh, and, with a piece of scripture

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But then I sigh, and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With odd old ends stol’n forth of holy writ,
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
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Act 1
Scene 3

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They do me wrong, and I will not endure it!

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Richard
They do me wrong, and I will not endure it!
Who is it that complains unto the King
That I, forsooth, am stern and love them not?
By holy Paul, they love his Grace but lightly
That fill his ears with such dissentious rumors.
Because I cannot flatter and look fair,
Smile in men’s faces,
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 43

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