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Richard III Power Quotes

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

Quote #10

My words are dull; O, quicken them
with thine!
Thy woes will make them sharp and
pierce like mine.  Exit
Why should calamity be fun of words?
Windy attorneys to their client woes,
Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
Poor breathing orators of miseries,
Let them have scope; though what they will impart
Help nothing else, yet do they case the heart.
If so, then be not tongue-tied. Go with me,
And in the breath of bitter words let's smother
My damned son that thy two sweet sons smother'd.
The trumpet sounds; be copious in exclaims. (4.4.6)

The women bewail the loss of their loved ones and generally curse the men responsible, but they lack military or political power. Queen Elizabeth's decision to confide in Queen Margaret is a final attempt to make her words hit home. Like the other women, Margaret's only weapons are words, but for some reason hers seem to have great, almost prophetic power over the course of events. But the play suggests that she has achieved that efficacy at tremendous personal cost. The Duchess's response is perhaps the most appropriate, as it reflects the frustration of powerlessness. The Duchess wishes she could smother Richard. Since she can't do that, she'll do the next best thing: try to drown her evil son with words. She's the first woman to stand up to Richard as king, and her words fall heavy on him. It seems the women can have a great impact, even if only with words.

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