Richard III

Richard III Act 2 Scene 2

What role do the women and children play in this scene?

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The old Duchess of York, the mother of King Edward, Clarence and Richard, enters with Clarence's two children. She is mourning the death of Clarence, but for the children's sake instead pretends to be upset about Edward's bad health. However, after a few moments Queen Elizabeth enters with her hair disheveled, and announces that King Edward has also died. The Duchess of York remarks that all she has left is Richard, about whom she says, "And I for comfort have but one false glass" (2.2.53). The children tell the Queen that since she did not grieve for their father, they will not grieve for King Edward. The Duchess tells them all that she accepts all of their suffering and will lament for them. The children only play a part of affirmation to the adult characters. They are not individuals rather than plot devices.