Richard III


William Shakespeare

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The Boar Symbol Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The Boar Symbol Icon
The boar is Richard's heraldic symbol and represents him several times during the play: in Queen Margaret's speech (she calls him an "elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog"); in Lord Stanley's dream (he sees the boar knocking off Hastings' helmet); and in the Earl of Richmond's speech to his troops (he calls Richard a "foul swine"). However, the boar doesn't just symbolize Richard because it happens to appear on his coat of arms. As an animal commonly associated with violent aggression in Elizabethan England, the boar is also a fitting symbol for Richard's bloody and relentlessly antagonistic spirit.

The Boar Quotes in Richard III

The Richard III quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Boar. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

Thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog,
Thou that wast sealed in thy nativity
The slave of nature and the son of hell.

Related Symbols: The Boar
Page Number: 1.3.239-241
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar,
That spoil'd your summer fields and fruitful vines,
Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
In your embowelled bosoms—this foul swine
Is now even in the centre of this isle

Related Symbols: The Boar
Page Number: 5.2.7-12
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Boar Symbol Timeline in Richard III

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Boar appears in Richard III. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 3
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...and to be unable to sleep without nightmares. She calls him an "elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog," calls Elizabeth a fool for taking Richard's side against Margaret, and says the queen will... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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...4 a.m. with an urgent message from Lord Stanley recounting a dream in which " the boar " [Richard's heraldic symbol] knocked off Stanley's helmet and decapitated him. That dream, combined with... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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The Throne and the State Theme Icon
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...urges everyone to march on in order to attain peace by killing Richard, the "foul swine" who "swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough in your embowell'd bosoms."... (full context)