Random Sheep on the LandingsEdit
As Vincent moves up the tower in the Nightmares, the number of sheep on each Landings generally decreases to show the death rate as the stages get more and more difficult.
They usually all follow the same mentality on each Landing: going from fear and uncertainty, to violent self-preservation, to hopefulness, to reverence of Vincent. There are always outliers in this, usually taking the form of the sheep with enlarged horns, who are always the most aggressive ones that revel in killing the others.In 5-1, the aggressive sheep "evolves" into a larger Black Sheep with a giant hammer. In 7-2, it is a Red Sheep with flaming red fur and a giant axe. Astaroth explains these sheep have already lost their lives in the real world, and thus their minds.
There is also one Merchant Sheep that appears on most of the Landings who'll sell you useful items for the next stage. He falls off and dies in 7-3 due to the weight and encumbrance of his money, described as a "shooting star" by the sheep that tells you this as he fell with his riches.
Sheep were chosen as the vehicle for the narrative for a number of reasons, as it fits many common themes to the game: "sheep" and their relation to "sleep," the idea of sheep going astray much as the characters do, and the thought that in order to live a normal life like others, you have to stay within the herd. Sheep mindlessly follow, and require a shepherd to guide them properly, or they'll follow each other off a cliff to their death, as one sheep on a Landing stated. It's easy to see the symbolism of that within humanity itself, especially when viewed through the eyes of the god that created this entire trial.
The fact that each victim on the Landing sees themselves as the only human in a crowd of sheep speaks volumes to human nature, and how we can fool ourselves into thinking we are independent and free-willed, but in reality are just another sheep in the herd. Or when viewed another way, it is only our own personhood that we readily acknowledge and only once we get to know others do we see them as human as us.
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