Pursuivant is a minor character in William Shakespeare's play, Richard III. Although he doesn't have a significant role in the play, his presence adds depth and authenticity to the historical setting of the story. Pursuivant is a herald, a member of the royal household whose primary duty is to convey messages and announcements on behalf of the king or queen.
As a herald, Pursuivant is responsible for maintaining order and protocol during official events and ceremonies. He wears a distinctive coat of arms and carries a staff adorned with the royal crest, symbolizing his authority. Pursuivant is often seen accompanying the main characters, such as Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and other members of the court.
Although Pursuivant's role is relatively small, he serves as a valuable source of information and exposition for the audience. Through his announcements and proclamations, the audience gains insight into the political landscape and the motivations of the characters. Pursuivant's presence also helps to establish the authenticity of the setting, as heralds were an integral part of the royal court during Shakespeare's time.
Pursuivant's most notable scene occurs in Act IV, Scene II, where he announces the arrival of Queen Elizabeth and her procession. This scene serves as a pivotal moment in the play, as it marks the turning point in Richard's downfall. Pursuivant's announcement adds to the suspense and tension, as the audience anticipates the confrontation between Richard and the queen.
Overall, Pursuivant's character may be minor, but his role is essential in creating a believable and immersive world for the audience. Through his presence, Shakespeare adds depth and authenticity to the historical setting of Richard III. Pursuivant's announcements and proclamations provide valuable information and insight, while also heightening the drama and suspense of the play.