Prophecy fulfilled

After Queen Margaret had heard enough of Richard’s lies she began telling him just what she thought of him, basically calling him out on all the dirt he’s done and telling him how he’ll pay for it. “The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul. Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv’st. No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine, unless it be while some tormenting dream affrights thee…” (1.3 215) “Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him…” (1.3 290). In act V we see that all of her prophecies/curses have come to past. Richard’s decent into madness continues and it seems he can no longer trust his mind or his dreams as all those he killed haunts them. “ O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me? What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by. Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am.” (5.5 135) Here Richard appears to be babbling to himself because he was so frightened by his dream. He tries to convince himself that he has nothing to fear but himself, and that he isn’t a murderer. Then he realizes he can’t lie to himself and admits to the killings. In this scene I can picture a little Richard (devil) on one shoulder and an angel on the other reminding him about all the evil he’s done. (His life flashing before him in a sense) The curse on his conscience as Margaret predicted.
Then when he thinks he has Stanley where he wants him (by holding his son hostage) even Stanley doesn’t conform and betrays Richard by not sending the army at his request. Richard suspected that he couldn’t trust Stanley (as he suspected of most people around him due to paranoia). Upon Richard’s death Stanley is also the one who crowns Richmond “From the dead temples of this bloody wretch have I plucked off, to grace thy brows withal.” (5.8 5) further adding to Margaret’s prophecy. The death of King Richard in act 5.8 being the final prophecy seems to be a little lack luster. In the stage direction it states “They fight. Richard is slain.” From all that we’ve read of Richard’s actions, I expected his end to be as bloody as his beginning and that he’d put up a valiant fight for the crown he wanted so desperately to own. Instead it appears he died dazed and confused, asking for a horse and thinking Richmond was somehow multiplying before his eyes “I think there be six Richmonds in the field. Five have I slain today, instead of him.” (5.7 10)

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2 thoughts on “Prophecy fulfilled

  1. Karen Barba

    Despite being a tragedy, I feel like Queen Margaret’s curse shows the power of words and how someone like a god listened to those words and made them come true in order to be rid of a person like King Richard III.

    Reply
  2. sielittrell

    I like the image you said of having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other shoulder. I feel like Richard became crazy by his attempt to gain and hold on to power. This shows how power can corrupt the mind. I think this might also be why his death is so as you say lack luster. He does not get what he wants, he is defeated. Judging by his personality, he might have wanted a bloody death where he was barely defeated and had a huge, long, glorious funeral that lasted for days or weeks. But instead he doesn’t get what he wants, with the crown or with his death. While it might be a disappointment to the audience, I think it is representative of his fall from power.

    Reply

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