Richard III "And Seem A Saint, When Most I Play The Devil"
by William Shakespeare

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"And Seem A Saint, When Most I Play The Devil"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is furthering his evil designs. Because of his deceit, King Edward has imprisoned their brother Clarence in the Tower. Richard confesses his further plans. Having got Clarence imprisoned though innocent, Richard, by sowing more lies and suspicion, will be revenged on others. In another of his many self-revealing speeches, he terrifies the audience with the promise of his forthcoming deeds:

. . .
But then I sigh, and with a piece of Scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil.
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With odd old ends stolen forth of holy writ,
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.