Richard III Justice Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
The proudest of you all
Have been beholding to him in his life;
Yet none of you would once beg for his life.
O God, I fear thy justice will take hold
On me, and you, and mine, and yours, for this!
Come, Hastings, help me to my closet. Ah, poor Clarence! (2.1.10)
It's fairly poignant that, in the midst of all this self-interest and treachery, the final thing that breaks Edward's heart is his understanding of his complicity in his brother's death. He fears God's wrath, but he also seems truly hurt and disappointed in himself about what he's done to upset the Christian notion of justice.
Now Margaret's curse is fall'n upon our heads,
When she exclaim'd on Hastings, you, and I,
For standing by when Richard stabb'd her son. (3.3.2)
Gray understands that Margaret's curse was not just the random anger of an old lady – she expects vengeance against these men because they stood by while her son was murdered. It seems Gray accepts the justice of his plight.
O bloody Richard! Miserable England!
I prophesy the fearfull'st time to thee
That ever wretched age hath look'd upon.
Come, lead me to the block; bear him my head.
They smile at me who shortly shall be dead. (3.4.9)
Justice is served as Hastings gets a taste of his own medicine. He came out of prison seeking revenge against his accusers and then gloated over their deaths, only to discover while they were being killed that he was being condemned. Hastings's dying thoughts are vengeful. He condemns Richard, and rather than lamenting Richard's evil or being sorry for his own gloating over the murders at Pomfret, Hastings takes some comfort in knowing that after his murder more murders will follow. This contrasts with Buckingham's penitent approach, though of course Buckingham had many worse crimes to account for than Hastings, and it seems like Hastings's murder is generally a more senseless one.