KING RICHARD III has married (and murdered?) LADY ANNE. He now seeks to secure his tenuous grip on the throne that he took from his young nephew KING EDWARD V. To do this, he decides to marry his niece, PRINCESS ELIZABETH of YORK who now has the best Yorkist claim to the throne. In this scene - which mirrors an earlier scene where he seduces ANNE despite having killed her husband and father-in-law – he attempts to seduce QUEEN ELIZABETH in lieu of her daughter. The scene is one of the most raw, intimate and bruising in the play as QUEEN ELIZABETH battles to balance her hatred for RICHARD (who has murdered her sons) with the need to assure survival for her daughter. Although QUEEN ELIZABETH (the widow of his brother KING EDWARD IV) seems to fall for his pretences, she in fact arranges for her daughter to marry HENRY TUDOR, EARL of RICHMOND who will later defeat and kill RICHARD at the Battle of Bosworth Field and claim the throne for himself as KING HENRY VII. In this scene, he tries to summon all the humour, logic and charisma that has worked for him in the past, but he is unaware that his powers are waning and that his revolting, incestuous thoughts are betraying his own rotting morality.
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