Richard III Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What is the importance of act 5, scene 3 for the play Richard III as a whole? 

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This key scene at Bosworth Field presages the end of Richard. It both creates a tense, pre-battle atmosphere as it begins with the leaders’ preparations and an eerie atmosphere through the appearance of multiple ghosts. These are echoed in Richard’s dual modes of thought as he worries about the outcome and, for the first time, doubts his goals and methods. As the scene opens, Richard seems confident in their victory, and the men settle down for the night. Then not one, not two, but more than a dozen ghosts of all those whom Richard has killed and wronged appear. Shakespeare presents their individual complaints but uses variants of the same language. They all condemn Richard to “despair and die” while they praise and support Richmond, often with the parallel “live and flourish.” Other repeated words for Richmond are “comfort,” “quiet,” “conquer,” and “victory.” Their purpose is summed up as all together tell Richmond,

Awake, and think our wrongs in Richard's...

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