They send Catesby, the messenger, to him who returns telling them ‘He is within with two right reverend fathers … to draw him from this holy exercise’ (Act III Scene 7 Lines 60-63). The people are lead to believe Richard is holy and innocent. Buckingham also takes this opportunity to put down Edward some more and make Richard look again saying ‘Ah ha, my lord, this prince is not an Edward. He is not … on a lewd love bed, but on his knees at meditation’ (Act III Scene 7 Lines 70-73).
When he finally appears he arrives between two reverends for yet more self-publicity. He acts shocked that people should want him to be king and objects saying ‘so mighty and so many my defects’ (Line 159), ‘the royal tree hath left us royal fruit’ (Line 166) and that the next king will ‘make (no doubt) us happy by his reign’ (Line 169). He is being humble and modest so as the citizens are convinced it is not his ambition to be king and they therefore cannot accuse him of murdering the heirs to the throne.
Buckingham feeds Richard lines all the time making him look better and better and Richard is dependant on him in this scene but as soon as Richard has what he wants he will not care about Buckingham anymore but Bucking ham is allowing himself to be used as he has been promised Hereford by Richard. Richard convinces them enough that he does not want to be king that they leave in disappointment. After they leave he mocks feeling bad that he has disappointed and calls them back saying that he will bear with being king for their sake. So now the citizens think that they have a true, holy, modest king with their best interests at heart and someone who wouldn’t give every thing just for the power. Of course the audience knows that Richard is the opposite of all this. Richard has succeeded in becoming king.
Shakespeare is very much like Richard in this way. He doesn’t care who he offends or if he diminishes their family name as long as he gets his money and looks good in front of queen Elizabeth. Richard may have been a kind hearted loving man who didn’t deserve to be killed at all but Shakespeare has made him an evil tyrant only to get into the good books of the Queen by giving her grandfather justification for disrupting the Divine Right of Kings and murdering an innocent man. Shakespeare has given Richard III a bad name forever and even today we think of Richard as a brutal, ruthless tyrant, but Richard may not have committed these murders at all.
To make Richard seem more abhorrent, Shakespeare takes event out of chronological sequence. When Brackenbury first appears he is leading Clarence up to the tower. We know by historical records that Brackenbury wasn’t appointed guard of the tower until a lot later in the play. This mainly just makes it easier to act instead of having two different prison guards one is also a lot easier to recognize.
Margaret is the main person who is taken totally out of context and sequence to make Richard look evil. When she first emerges to put Richard down in Act I Scene 3 she would in real life have been in exile in France. It is also very unlikely that even if she wasn’t in France that she would be in the court of York after being defeated at the battle of Tewksbury and would especially not be shouting and cursing members of the York faction. She would have simply been put to death without a thought, as she is an enemy to them.
The next time Margaret appears watching her curses come true in Act IV Scene 4 she would in real life have been dead. Shakespeare feels the need to bring her back to life here to remind the characters that she was right and it is important that they wish they had listened to her and wish to learn how to curse like her. It shows their true hatred for Richard even though they are his close family and once again shows his wickedness.
Shakespeare also juxtaposes Richard’s evil directly with Richmond’s piety to further enhance his sinfulness. Richmond is portrayed as a perfect, holy saint of a man who would only ever hurt someone if it would help others. This of course is Elizabeth’s grandfather and she would have been flattered by this virtuous interpretation. Putting something good directly against something bad makes it seem all the worse and Shakespeare takes advantage of this to the full and right the way through Act V Scene 3 the scene is constantly switched between the two. This is a clever tactic to use as it makes Richard look wicked and at the same time makes Richmond look saintly and full of equanimity as he cares for his supporters.
So Richard and Shakespeare are in reality quite similar to one another in certain aspects. They both wish to achieve a goal not caring who they have to hurt or crush if they have to do it to accomplish it. Whilst Richard murders and manipulates people to become king, diminishing his family name as he does so, Shakespeare takes an innocent character and turns him into an evil tyrant to be forever hated and manipulates history in such a way as to destroy one man’s name for centuries to come. Shakespeare may be a well respected playwright and historical figure but it is fairly clear that he doesn’t care who he has to put down to achieve such a high status. Richard III and Shakespeare are one and the same when you look deeper.