Richard III


William Shakespeare

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Richard III: Act 5, Scene 5 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
At another part of the field, Richard and Richmond enter, fighting each other, Richmond then kills Richard, and Richmond exits as Richard's body is removed from the stage. Richmond then reenters along with Stanley, who is bearing the crown. Richmond declares that Richard is dead. Stanley praises Richmond, who immediately asks if George Stanley still lives. Stanley confirms he does, and recounts the names of the dead. Richmond closes the play with a speech pardoning all repentant soldiers who fought for Richard and announcing he will peacefully unite the white rose and the red rose (the Houses of York and Lancaster) by marrying Queen Elizabeth's daughter. He declares "smooth'd-fac'd peace" for England from now on and prays to God for no more "civil wounds."
Richmond proves himself an entirely different and much more worthy ruler of England than Richard ever was – Richmond expresses compassion for his subjects (asking after Stanley's son and pardoning any of Richard's repentant soldiers) and wishes, above all, for a peaceful and healthy state. His marriage to King Edward's daughter will marry the Houses of York and Lancaster, soothing the ills and injustices of war with love and partnership, and establishing the stable Tudor dynasty that will result in the eventual rise to the throne of Elizabeth I, who ruled when Shakespeare wrote Richard III.
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