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King Richard talks to himself

King Richard III's 26-month reign ended when he was killed at a battle in England's War of the Roses and with him died the reign of the Plantagenets, replaced by the Tudors. Archaeologists have now uncovered Richard's long-missing corpse, buried beneath a parking lot 20 miles from the battle that killed him, and positively identified the skeleton via DNA. Shakespeare's play Richard III was written in 1592, 107 years after the king's death. It seems appropriate to revisit the work now, so here is an excerpt of Richard's soliloquy (with a hat tip to the Wall Street Journal, which thought of it first):

The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.

Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.

What do I fear? myself? there's none else by:

Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I.

Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am:

Then fly. What, from myself? Great reason why:

Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?

Alack. I love myself. Wherefore? for any good

That I myself have done unto myself?

O, no! alas, I rather hate myself

For hateful deeds committed by myself!

I am a villain: yet I lie. I am not.

Fool, of thyself speak well: fool, do not flatter.

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,

And every tongue brings in a several tale,

And every tale condemns me for a villain.

Perjury, perjury, in the high'st degree

Murder, stem murder, in the direst degree;

All several sins, all used in each degree,

Throng to the bar, crying all, Guilty! guilty!

I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;

And if I die, no soul shall pity me:

Nay, wherefore should they, since that I myself

Find in myself no pity to myself?

Methought the souls of all that I had murder'd

Came to my tent; and every one did threat

To-morrow's vengeance on the head of Richard.

King Richard talks to himself 02/09/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 8, 2013 4:37pm]

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