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Richard III Time Quotes

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

Quote #1

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time (1.1.1)

Starting with the play's opening lines, there's an emphasis on time and timing.  Here Richard repeats the word "now" three times, drawing our attention to the present moment.  He also tells us that he doesn't quite fit in during this time of peace, because he was born prematurely or "sent before his time." 

Quote #2

Is Clarence dead? The order was reversed.
But he, poor soul, by your first order died,
And that a winged Mercury did bear:
Some tardy cripple bore the countermand,
That came too lag to see him buried.
God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
Nearer in bloody thoughts, but not in blood,
Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
And yet go current from suspicion! (2.1.7)

This passage is significant because it shows us how Richard is a master of speeding up time and accelerating events in the play.  Edward is shocked to learn that Clarence was executed even after he ordered that the original decision be reversed.  The audience knows that Richard hastened the original order for Clarence's execution and slowed down delivery of the order for reversal.  But here, Richard blames some "tardy cripple" for delivering the reversal message too slowly. 

Quote #3

Tut, tut, thou art all ice, thy kindness freezeth:
Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
Give me some breath, some little pause, my lord
Before I positively herein:
I will resolve your grace immediately. (4.2.7)

Here's another example of Richard trying to speed up events.  In this scene he has asked Buckingham to murder the young princes, but Buckingham hesitates and tries to stall.  That doesn't slow down Richard, though; he immediately hires a hit man to do the job.

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