"I Have Set My Life Upon A Cast"

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Last Updated on August 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 138

Context: Richard III, a deformed hunch-back, has usurped the throne of England by hypocrisy, dissemblance, and murder. The Earl of Richmond, later King Henry VII, leads a revolt against the villainous king, in which the opposing armies meet at Bosworth Field. In desperation Richard vainly seeks a replacement for his slain horse. In a final speech, directed to a supporter, before his death at the hand of Richmond, Richard refuses to withdraw from the fray, saying that the die that determines his fate has already been cast, and he will await his fortune:

Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.
I think there be six Richmonds in the field;
Five have I slain to-day instead of him.
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!

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