Scenes 4.2 and 4.3
Scene 4.2 - The palace, London
Richard enters with his train, wearing the crown. He asks Buckingham to help him ascend the throne, and as Buckingham does so he thanks him both for the "advice" and the "assistance" that helped Richard to become king. Already, however, Richard fears that his position is not secure, and he indirectly asks Buckingham to kill the princes by telling him "young Edward lives: think now what I would speak." Yet Buckingham pretends not to understand his meaning, and when Richard speaks more plainly he asks for time to consider Richard's request and exits. Richard dislikes Buckingham's sudden coldness, and bystanders who did not overhear the conversation can tell that Richard is angry. Richard demands of a page whether he knows of anyone who could be corrupted by money into doing a deadly deed. The page knows of one such person-- one Tyrrel, a "discontented gentleman" who does not have enough money to satisfy his "haughty spirit." Richard decides that he can no longer trust Buckingham; although Buckingham has kept with Richard's ambition in the past, he now seems tired and out of breath.
Stanley informs Richard and Dorset has fled the country on his way to meet Richmond. Richard tells Catesby to spread a rumor that Anne is sick and will probably die soon. Next Catesby is to find a husband of low social standing for Clarence's daughter in order to keep her from someday claiming the throne. Richard does not see Clarence's son as a threat because the boy seems "foolish." Richard explains that he must "stop all hopes whose growth may damage me." After Catesby goes about the errand, Richard muses that he must now marry Elizabeth's daughter to secure his hold on the kingdom, which otherwise rests on "brittle glass." Although he recognizes that it won't be easy to "murder her brothers and then marry her," he feels that he has no choice. He can feel no pity or moral qualms because the sins he has already committed force him to commit more: "I am in / So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin."
The page brings Tyrrel to Richard, who asks him whether he would be willing to kill a friend of Richard's. Tyrrel responds that he would rather kill two enemies. Tyrrel eagerly agrees to murder the princes in the tower in exchange for money.
Buckingham returns, having decided how to respond to Richard's request. Richard declines to hear what he has to say on the subject, ordering Buckingham to "let that rest." Buckingham chooses this moment to ask Richard for the earldom of Herford that Richard promised him before Hastings' arrest. Richard ignores him, preoccupied instead with the memory that he once overheard Henry VI prophesy that Richmond would become king. Buckingham repeats his claim, but Richard instead wonders aloud why, if Henry VI was a prophet, he couldn't prophesy that Richard himself would kill him. An Irish bard told him long ago that "I should not live long after I saw Richmond." Buckingham still insists, and Richard asks him what time it is, because his repeated demand reminds him of the chiming of a clock. He refuses Buckingham because "I am not in the giving vein today." The king departs, and Buckingham resolves to flee to Brecknock before he meets Hastings' unlucky fate.
Scene 4.3 - The palace, London
Tyrrel returns from the murder of the two princes in the Tower. He hired two assassins, Dighton and Forrest, to kill the children. Although they were hardened criminals, they "melted with tenderness and kind compassion" and wept while recounting their deeds to Tyrrel. According to the assassins, they smothered the two children while they were sleeping, with their "alabaster innocent arms" around one another and lips like red roses on a vine. Forrest claims that the sight of a prayer book on their pillow nearly dissuaded him from killing the princes until the devil intervened. The two are speechless with remorse, leaving Tyrrel to report their deeds to the king. When Richard enters, Tyrrel assures him that the children are dead and that he saw their bodies himself. The chaplain of the Tower has buried them, but Tyrrel does not know exactly where. Richard wishes to hear more after supper and promises to give Tyrrel anything he wants. Tyrrel exits, leaving Richard to recap what he has just done to secure the crown-- Clarence's son is in prison, his daughter is married to a commoner, Edward's heirs "sleep in Abraham's bosom," and Anne is also dead. Because Richard knows that Richmond intends to marry Edward's daughter, Princess Elizabeth, in hopes to gain the crown, Richard intends to court her himself like "a jolly thriving wooer."
Ratcliffe brings the bad news that the Bishop of Ely has defected to Richmond and that Buckingham is raising troops in Wales to fight Richard. Richard declares that action is better than words and tells Ratcliffe to raise an army right away.
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Scenes 2.3 and 2.4
Scenes 3.3 and 3.4
Scene 3.6 and 3.7
Scenes 4.2 and 4.3
Scenes 4.4 and 4.5
Scenes 5.1 and 5.2
Scenes 5.4 and 5.5