What impact does the procession of ghosts have upon Richard III?
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Arriving at Bosworth Field with his troops, Richard surveys the field while his tent is set up for the night. Richard joins with his troops in a different part of the field and sends a secret message to Stanley. Stanley is planning to help Richmond although he appears to be fighting for Richard. Ghosts appear while Richard and Richmond are sleeping in different parts of the field. The ghosts are wishing Richmond good fortune while cursing Richard. Therefore, Richard awakens in a fearful state, wishing to spy on his own soldiers and test their loyalty. Meanwhile, Richard is well-rested and has strong confidence in his victory. After both leaders make a speech to his soldiers, Richard discovers that Stanley is not going to fight, but there is not enough time to kill his son. That must wait until after the battle.
Richard dreamt that a parade of ghosts- those that Richard had murdered enters the stage. Each of the ghosts criticized him and condemned him for the misery that they had to suffered due to his cruelty and cursed him by saying that he will be killed the next morning and ordered him to go and die and be fearful
Next, the ghosts went to Richmond's side and told him that they were on his side and he would one day rule England and make Richard abidicate from his throne.
The dream really impacted Richard a lot. Scared out of his wits, he woke up from his dream, perspiring and panting a lot.
The effect of the ghost's procession was like curses deliberately aiming and striking at him all at the same time. It gives Richard the time to self-ponder and soul-searching that he had never done in his life, which is the first time that Shakespere had dwelled into a very complicated and egaging topic, the psychology of the human nature.
Right after the procession of ghosts exits, Richard shows his first moment of vulnerability and insecurity. He identifies himself as a villain and realises that he has cut off every single relation that might have supported him. However, after this brief moment of understanding, Richard quickly dismisses his conscience and is back to the old Richard. This could have been a turning point for the character, but he is too far gone to turn back and what is more, he does not want to turn back.
The moment also creates a lot of sympathy and pity within the audience, much of which had disappeared after his horrendous murders of even the most innocent (eg, the Princes). This is important in the context of the play, because the audience must respond to Richard's death and not rejoice.
Additionally, the recovery that Richard makes after his moment of weakness, that is his bravery on the battlefield, makes us admire him even more.
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