Help Interpreting Richard III?

So, I was just asked for some Shakespeare help on Twitter.  “Modern intepretation of Act 3 scene 2 possible?” asks a follower (who shall remain anonymous in case he didn’t want me posting this).

“…of what play?!” I asked, amused.

Turns out, Richard III.  I had to admit, R3 is one of my guilty plays – and by that I mean, I’ve never seen it and don’t know enough about it, and for that I feel guilty.  Had he asked about many of the other tragedies or comedies I may have had a shot, but the history plays have always been my weak spot.

So I turn to you geeks.  What’s happening in Act 3 scene 2, and what sort of “modern interpretation” can you come up with (that perhaps hasn’t already been done to death)?

One thought on “Help Interpreting Richard III?

  1. In this scene, Hastings is awoken from his bed in the middle of the night by a messenger from Lord Stanley, who has had a dream about the boar (AKA Richard) knocking his helm off. Stanley asks for his assistance in what he assumes will be a coup d'etat by Richard. Hastings sends a somewhat mocking word that Stanley should not fear Richard and that he will not be in any danger. The messenger departs and Catesby (one of Richard's followers) arrives to discuss the possiblity of Richard ascending to the throne, something which Hastings is very much against. Richard has sent word with Catesby that the Queen's relatives Rivers, Vaughn and Grey are to die at the tower, supposedly, for treason. This message is meant to persuade Hastings to join with Richard, as the Queen's relatives were Hastings' enemies. However, Hastings declines, stating that he would rather die than join with Richard. Lord Stanley arrives, and Hastings lets him know that the Queen's relatives are to be put to death, which further makes Lord Stanley feel that there is civil unrest brewing. Stanley and Catesby leave and a pursuivant (a junior officer of arms) a priest, and Lord Buckingham individually arrive, all of whom speak briefly to Hastings about current affairs. Buckingham ushers Hastings out of his room and away to the Tower.

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