Richard III


William Shakespeare

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Richard III: Act 3, Scene 3 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
At Pomfret Castle, Ratcliffe (one of Richard's minions) enters with a Guard conducting Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan to execution. Rivers tells Ratcliffe he is about to watch three innocent, loyal men die. Rivers laments "the guilty closure" of Pomfret Castle in which King Richard II was murdered. Grey notes that Queen Margaret's curse on them has come true. Rivers responds by hoping that God will fulfill her curse on Richard, Buckingham, and Hastings, but hopes that his own shed blood will exempt his sister Queen Elizabeth and her sons from any misfortune. They exit to be executed.
Richard has arranged for Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan to be executed simply to clear his own rise to power – they have committed no crime. Pomfret castle where they are about to be executed has witnessed another murder in a previous power struggle for the throne: King Richard II was killed there too, but the man who became Henry IV (the grandfather of the Henry VI whom Richard killed just before the action of this play). All three of the men regret not taking Margaret's curses and prophecies more seriously, that such curses do seem to have a power that they had earlier mocked or disregarded.
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