When Richard the Third has ordered Lord Hastings to be killed, Richard Ratcliffe uses the following idiom to hurry the unfortunate man to his doom:
Come, come, dispatch. The Duke would be at dinner.
Make a short shrift. He longs to see your head.
The phrase “Make a short shrift” is an idiom that means to do something quickly and without wasting time. But in this situation, it has a grim and somewhat cruel second meaning. "Shrift" means the forgiveness given by a priest after a confession. In essence, Ratcliffe is telling Hastings to quickly make peace with his fate and to prepare for his upcoming execution.
This use of the idiom paints a clear picture of the harsh and merciless environment under Richard III's rule. It shows that Richard's orders are executed by people like Ratcliffe without question or hesitation. There's also the matter of the reference to a sacred, ritual-like confession. When used in this horrific context, the idea of a "short shrift" also highlights the King's own growing distance from Christian values.
Finally, the idiom "[m]ake a short shrift" even points to a dark joke about Hastings literally becoming "shorter" after his beheading. This adds a layer of shocking humor to the interaction and is a grim reminder of Richard's brutal ambition and the high price it demands from those who get in his way.