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Scene 3.5

Scene 3.5 - The Tower of London

Richard and Gloucester enter dressed in old armor, ready to pretend that they have been defending themselves against attack. Richard instructs Buckingham in how to act as though "distraught and mad with terror" by shaking, changing color, and breaking off in the middle of a word. Buckingham assures him that "I can counterfeit the deep tragedian," by looking behind him and trembling at the slightest movement. He can pretend to be terrified and suspicious as easily has he can force a smile. Catesby returns with the Mayor of London, for whom he has been sent. For his benefit, Richard and Buckingham pretend to be under siege by enemy forces. As newcomers approach, they pretend to suspect more enemies until Buckingham recognizes Lovel and Ratcliffe, who present Richard with Hastings' severed head.

Richard feigns sadness that a man whom he had loved and trusted as he did Hastings would have intended to betray him. He calls Hastings the "book, wherein my soul recorded / The history of all her secret thoughts," as though Hastings was his soulmate. Only Hastings' affair with Mistress Shore revealed the vice that underlay his apparent virtue. Buckingham explains to the Lord Mayor that Hastings had plotted to kill Richard and Buckingham at the council meeting today. When the Mayor asks "had he done so?" in surprise, Richard pretends to be offended by the fact that the Mayor could doubt that Hastings was a traitor given the fact that Richard and Buckingham saw fit to put him to death. Richard doesn't tell the Mayor outright that Hastings had the benefit of a legal trial, but he implies that this was the case (which it was not) by asking whether the Mayor thinks that Richard and Buckingham are "Turks and infidels" who would ignore "the form of law." The Mayor appears satisfied by Richard's false logic and congratulates them on sending a warning signal to like-minded traitors. Buckingham implies that Hastings was misled into treason by his evil mistress. He tells the Mayor that they had hoped he would arrive before Hastings' execution so that he could hear for himself could hear Hastings confess his crimes, but Lovel and Ratcliffe misconstrued them and went ahead with this execution. Buckingham hopes that the Mayor will reassure the people of London that Hastings was not killed unjustly but deserved his death. The Mayor states that Buckingham's word is as good as hearing Hastings' confession himself and promises to acquaint the London citizens with the events. He leaves.

Richard sends Buckingham after the Mayor with orders to announce at the Guildhall that Edward's heirs are illegitimate, and to remind the citizens of Edward's vice of lust, which caused him to seduce numerous women. If necessary, Buckingham can argue that Edward himself was illegitimate on the grounds that his father was away in France when he was conceived, but he should not dwell on this accusation since the duchess is still alive to deny it. Buckingham vows to argue for Richard's claim to the throne as eloquently as if he argued for himself. Richard tells him to bring the citizens to Baynard Castle between 3 and 4 o'clock, where they will find Richard apparently discussing spiritual matters with priests and bishops. Richard sends Lovel and Catesby to invite two bishops to meet him at the castle. Richard lets Ratcliffe know that he intends do something with Clarence's children.

Browse all book notes

Scene 1.1
Scene 1.2
Scene 1.3
Scene 1.4
Scene 2.1
Scene 2.2
Scenes 2.3 and 2.4
Scene 3.1
Scene 3.2
Scenes 3.3 and 3.4
Scene 3.5
Scene 3.6 and 3.7
Scene 4.1
Scenes 4.2 and 4.3
Scenes 4.4 and 4.5
Scenes 5.1 and 5.2
Scene 5.3
Scenes 5.4 and 5.5


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