Richard III: Novel Summary: Act 3 Scene 2

Act 3, scene 2At Lord Hastings’ house, a messenger arrives from Stanley early in the morning. As a result of a dream, Stanley is worried about the threat he perceives from Richard. He wants Hastings to accompany him to the north, to escape the danger. Hastings dismisses Stanley’s fears, saying that he, Hastings, will hear soon enough (from his friend Catesby) about anything that is said concerning them at an upcoming council Richard has convened. He is confident they have nothing to fear.Catesby enters on his mission from Richard and informs Hastings that Richard is plotting to seize the crown. He says Richard has sent him with this news, wanting to know whether Hastings will support him. Catesby also mentions that the three noble prisoners at Pomfret are to be executed. Hastings does not care about the executions, since Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan are his enemies, but he says he would rather die than allow Richard to win the crown. Hastings, however, is not troubled by the news. He feels secure, believing that Richard and Buckingham are his friends.Stanley enters, and says he feels uneasy about the current situation, but Hastings reassures him that there is nothing to worry about. Hastings remains confident as he talks to a pursuivant (a messenger) and to a clergyman. Then Buckingham enters and informs Hastings of the impending deaths at Pomfret. Buckingham and Hastings both go to the Tower.

AnalysisHastings is almost comically overconfident and shows that he has completely misjudged Richard. He has no idea at all of the depths of the man’s malevolence, and even thinks him to be a friend. Hastings’ gullibility is also a tribute to the charming face that Richard can put on when he wants to disguise his real purposes.