A line-by-line translation

Richard III

Richard III Translation Table of Contents

Now you can read Richard III alongside a modern translation that anyone can understand. Use the translation to enrich your understanding of Shakespeare's original and avoid getting bogged down in archaic language.

Act 1, Scene 1

The Duke of Clarence has been arrested and meets Richard. Richard plans to turn his brother, the King, against Clarence.

Act 1, Scene 2

Henry VI's corpse is led in a state procession. Richard halts this, and woos Lady Anne, who agrees to marry him.

Act 1, Scene 3

Richard turns the nobles at court against each other, and sends assassins to kill Clarence.

Act 1, Scene 4

The assassins arrive to murder Clarence, although pangs of conscience slow their action.

Act 2, Scene 1

The sick King Edward IV discovers that Clarence has been executed against his orders. Richard passes on the blame.

Act 2, Scene 2

Clarence's children aren't told about his death. Elizabeth announces Edward's death. Richard and Buckingham plot.

Act 2, Scene 3

Citizens discuss the death of the king. They express concern that there may be a war to determine who takes the throne.

Act 2, Scene 4

Queen Elizabeth's supporters have been imprisoned. She, the Duchess of York, and the young princes seek sanctuary.

Act 3, Scene 1

Richard and Buckingham encourage the princes to stay in the Tower of London. The two men then plot to crown Richard.

Act 3, Scene 2

Lord Stanley is worried. Catesby tries to convince Hastings to join Richard's faction, but Hastings refuses.

Act 3, Scene 3

Recounting previous moments in British history, Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan prepare to be executed at Pomfret.

Act 3, Scene 4

Nobles meet to discuss the coronation. Richard accuses Hastings of treason, and has him arrested and condemned to die.

Act 3, Scene 5

Richard convinces the Lord Mayor to vouch for Hastings' death. Richard plans to suggest Edward's children are bastards.

Act 3, Scene 6

A professional scribe reports the official charges leveled at Hastings, noting that they are obviously false.

Act 3, Scene 7

Buckingham describes his meeting with the citizens. Richard pretends to not want kingship, but then accepts it.

Act 4, Scene 1

The Duchess of York and Elizabeth can't visit the princes. Richard's new wife, Anne, is called for her coronation.

Act 4, Scene 2

Richard is formally crowned. He shows displeasure with Buckingham, and sends Tyrrel to kill the princes in the Tower.

Act 4, Scene 3

Tyrrel announces the princes' deaths. Richard plans to woo his niece Elizabeth. A civil war has begun.

Act 4, Scene 4

Queen Margaret, the Duchess of York, and Elizabeth curse Richard. Battle is imminent. Buckingham is captured.

Act 4, Scene 5

Nobles discuss abandoning Richard and joining the rebellion, which is growing quickly.

Act 5, Scene 1

Buckingham is being led to execution and asks to speak with Richard, although the sheriff denies him this favor.

Act 5, Scene 2

Richmond leads the rebellion, and says that nobody has opposed him so far. The rebels prepare to fight.

Act 5, Scene 3

The two armies set up camp. Richard is haunted by his victims' ghosts. The armies continue to prepare for battle.

Act 5, Scene 4

The battle rages. Richard is hunting for Richmond on the battlefield, but has not found him yet.

Act 5, Scene 5

Richmond kills Richard. Richmond takes the crown, announces his engagement, and pardons his foes, thus ending the war.
Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.