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Richard III

Richard III


by William Shakespeare

Richard III Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.

Quote #7

Short summers lightly have a forward spring. (3.1.7)

Translation: Those who die young are often precocious, like these young princes whom Richard will murder.  Richard looks at the child he plans to murder and is able to equate his intended evil with the natural cycle of the seasons. It's as if he's justifying his evil as part of the natural cycle. 

Quote #8

And for his dreams, I wonder he's so simple
To trust the mock'ry of unquiet slumbers.
To fly the boar before the boar pursues
Were to incense the boar to follow us
And make pursuit where he did mean no chase. (3.2.5)

Hastings does not make much of Stanley's dream, but he should catch himself here. Like a beast, Richard seems to lack reasonableness. The tiniest thing will set him off to pursue, sensibly or not, whomever he perceives to be his enemy. The boar is a beastly animal, and nothing more should be expected from it than beastliness. Richard will chase after the lives of both Stanley and Hastings, even if they did not know they were inviting him to pursuit.

Quote #9

The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar,
That spoil'd your summer fields and fruitful vines,
Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
In your embowell'd bosoms-this foul swine
Is now even in the centre of this isle,
Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn. (5.2.1)

Richard is unnatural, and his effects on the natural happiness of a kingdom under God have been understandably horrifying. Richard has presided over a long winter in England, and he rules like a beastly and unnatural thing. The implication is that Richmond, the babe of summer, will restore the natural order of justice and goodness to England.

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