Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 4

page Act 1 Scene 4 Page 8

Original Text

Modern Text

CLARENCE

How darkly and how deadly dost thou speak!
155Your eyes do menace me. Why look you pale?
Who sent you hither? Wherefore do you come?

CLARENCE

The things you say scare me! Your eyes look threatening. And why are you so pale? Who sent you here? Why are you here?

SECOND MURDERER

To, to, to—

SECOND MURDERER

To, to, to—

CLARENCE

To murder me?

CLARENCE

To murder me?

BOTH MURDERERS

Ay, ay.

BOTH MURDERERS

Yes.

CLARENCE

160You scarcely have the hearts to tell me so,
And therefore cannot have the hearts to do it.
Wherein, my friends, have I offended you?

CLARENCE

You barely have the heart to tell me, so you can’t possibly have the nerve to do it. Besides, how have I offended you, my friends?

FIRST MURDERER

Offended us you have not, but the king.

FIRST MURDERER

You didn’t offend us, you offended the king.

CLARENCE

I shall be reconciled to him again.

CLARENCE

He and I will make up.

SECOND MURDERER

165Never, my lord. Therefore prepare to die.

SECOND MURDERER

Never, my lord. So prepare to die.

CLARENCE

Are you drawn forth among a world of men
To slay the innocent? What is my offense?
Where is the evidence that doth accuse me?
What lawful quest have given their verdict up
170Unto the frowning judge? Or who pronounced
The bitter sentence of poor Clarence' death
Before I be convict by course of law?
To threaten me with death is most unlawful.
I charge you, as you hope to have redemption,
175By Christ’s dear blood shed for our grievous sins,
That you depart, and lay no hands on me.
The deed you undertake is damnable.

CLARENCE

It’s your job in life to kill the innocent? What did I do wrong? Where’s the evidence against me? Where’s the jury, the judge, the lawful proceedings, the verdict? Who pronounced this death sentence before a court of law could even convict me? For you to threaten to kill me is most unlawful. If you hope to have your sins forgiven by Christ’s dear blood, which He shed for our terrible sins, you must leave and keep your hands off me. You’ll go to Hell for the deed you’re planning to do.

FIRST MURDERER

What we will do, we do upon command.

FIRST MURDERER

What we do we have been commanded to do.