| Quote #1
Here Richard compares the seasons to the well-being of England. On the surface, the line suggests that Richard is celebrating his brother Edward's ascension to the throne, as though his coronation had transformed winter to summer. Actually though, if we read carefully, the construction of the line belies Richard's happiness for his brother. The opening line of a play often sets the tone. Richard's first words, "Now is the winter of our discontent" probably more aptly sum up the play than any other line. They refer to the here and now, which Richard intends to make miserable. The play is really about the darkest of dark times, and only with Richard's death will England's long winter end, to be followed by a summer rebirth with the union of Richmond and young Elizabeth.
| Quote #2
Richard speaks of himself as unnatural, brought into the world before he was fully formed. He's referring to his body (remember, he was thought to have a hunchback), but he segues into talking about how he is morally underdeveloped as well. With the line "I am determined to prove a villain," Richard has essentially made the link between his underdevelopment and his wickedness. Had he been better formed, he would have human kindness, but just as his body was not perfectly formed, morality did not form in him either. It seems that Richard lacks human goodness and kindness by his very nature, not by choice.
| Quote #3
Richard is constantly compared to animals in this play. Here, however, he deftly maneuvers around it. Anne claims even beasts know pity, and Richard claims that because he knows no pity, then he must not be a beast.