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Scene 3.6 and 3.7

Scene 3.6 - Somewhere in London

A scrivener, or professional copyist, enters with the paper officially indicting Hastings of treason. He marvels that during the eleven hours he took to copy it, Hastings knew nothing of the order and thought he was free and safe. As few as five hours before, Hastings suspected nothing. The scrivener deplores the current state of the world, in which everyone knows that the charges against Hastings were trumped up, but no one dares say so.

Scene 3.7 - Baynard's Castle

Buckingham returns to Richard, disappointed that the citizens at the Guildhall refused to endorse Richard's cause for king. Instead, they sat silent as he argued that Edward's children were illegitimate because Edward was already married to Lady Lucy when he married Elizabeth. They were unmoved by his argument that Edward was a tyrant and a bastard, who did not look remotely like his father. He told them that Richard was the very image of his father, both in feature and in virtues. Yet when he invited them to cry "God save Richard, England's royal king!" they stood as silently as statues or rocks. The Recorder, who usually addressed the people, was then told to recount Buckingham's words to the people, after which only "some ten voices," all of whom were followers planted by Buckingham in the audience, were heard in support of Richard. On the strength of these few voices, Buckingham told the audience that he would let Richard know that they loved him and wished him well. Richard rails at the common people for refusing to speak. Buckingham tells Richard to retreat into the castle and seem as reluctant to take the throne as a "maid[en]" when the Mayor arrives.

The Mayor arrives attended by aldermen and citizens, and Richard sends Catesby to tell him that he can't be bothered now for he is "divinely bent to meditation" with two priests. Buckingham orders Catesby to return to Richard and beg him to come forth in the name of the "general good." Buckingham points out to the Mayor that whereas Edward spent his free time "lulling on a lewd love-bed," Richard spends his time praying and meditating. Catesby returns with Richard's message that he fears that the Mayor and Buckingham are planning to harm him and wishes to know their intentions. Buckingham sends Catesby back with reassurances. When Richard appears on the balcony above, he is flanked by two bishops and carries a prayer book in his hand. Richard asks why he has been summoned from his devotion if he has done nothing wrong. Buckingham, presuming to speak for the group, says that his only fault is his decision to resign the throne to a "blemish'd stock," i.e. Edward's 'illegitimate' children, when the country teeters on the edge of ruin. Buckingham invites Richard to ascend the throne, not as protector but as full, hereditary king. Richard pretends to be offended that Buckingham thinks he would want the throne, and asks whether Edward did not leave "royal fruit" in the form of rightful heirs. Buckingham proves their illegitimacy by alleging Edward's prior marriage to Lady Lucy, and additional marriage by proxy to Lady Bona, the sister of the French king. Buckingham declares that Richard dishonors his family by recognizing as legitimate the children of Edward's allegedly bigamous marriage with a poor widow. Richard then refuses the throne on the grounds that he will is not fit for such a high position in life. Buckingham prepares to depart with the Mayor's delegation, declaring that if Richard refuses the throne they will find another member of his family who will consent to rule. Richard calls them back and consents to ascend the throne, although God knows, and they "may partly see, / How far I am from the desire of this." Buckingham shouts "Long live Richard, England's worthy king," and the rest pronounce "amen." Buckingham asks Richard whether he will consent to be crowned on the following day, and Richard agrees. Richard returns back into his castle, purportedly to resume his devotional study with the bishops.

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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