And thus I clothe my naked villany

Richard:
"And thus I clothe my naked villany
With odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ,
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil."

King Richard III (I, iii, 336-338)

Act I ends as it began, with Richard glorifying his evil nature, and declaring he will stop at nothing in his ambition to be king. He has no conscience, and lays the blame for his villainy on his ugly deformed body, while delighting in his ability to play saint or devil. In this scene he has just shifted suspicion from himself to the Queen for the imprisonment of his brother, Clarence, a charge which she has hotly denied. Soon his two hired murderers will be sent to kill Clarence, thus clearing one of several obstacles in his way.

Themes: evil, conscience

Speakers: Richard

Start Free Trial

Start your 48-hour free trial and enjoy eNotes ad-free. Perfect for teachers, students, and readers.
Start Your Free Trial