This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Foolear The Wise Fool In Shakespeare's King Lear

1462 words - 6 pages

The Wise Fool in King Lear

 
    Whether or not the role of the Fool is an important one within King Lear is arguable. Although he seems to have great insight into much of the plays main events, he seems not to have any real influence on both the plot as well as the outcome of the play. He remains the sole character who does not have any direct link with the events of the plot, coupled with an unusually early exit; this raises the question of his significance. However at the very least he does certainly serve as entertainment not only for Lear but the audience as well, with his honesty, wittiness, and clever speeches that not only adds to the light humour but also to show us that the Fool could indeed be perceived as being one of the wisest characters in the play.

 

The main roles of the Fool seem to be as Lear's conscience, as a comedian to provide light relief from the tragic play as well as a means of communicating his themes such as the idea of foolishness, self-knowledge. In addition, he is the only person with the ability to speak to Lear in the manner he does. He also serves as a reminder for Lear for his actions within the play, in particular his stupidity and mistakes.

 

The Fool appears in the middle of Act I Scene 4 of the play and immediately we can clearly see his integrity when talking to others. He tells Lear "thou must needs wear my coxcomb" which suggests the king to be the Fool rather then himself and that Lear was foolish to divide his kingdom as he has done. Kent before him had criticized Lear for his decision causing him to be banished from the kingdom, however the Fool receives no such punishment showing us that he can get away with actions that are far more courageous. Goneril's reference to the `all licensed' fool emphasizes the fact that he may be very liberal in what he says. However, we can see that when the Fool becomes too close to the raw truth Lear will warn him that he will be whipped if he goes too far. When Lear first warns him with it, he replies:

 

"Truth's a dog, that must to kennel: he must be whipped out, when the Lady Brach may stand by the fire and stink."

 

Here the Fool warns Lear that his two daughters will have control over him due to his actions. Although Lear doesn't want to hear the truth and therefore tries to avoid it, the Fool essentially forces it out into the open through his speeches. He often uses comedic verses of saying to highlight the point he is trying to put across. In addition to this, he also provides various rhymes and riddles, taking on the role of a Chorus as a means of discussing the plays actions in a light-hearted yet clearly stating the essence of what is happening. For example, the following quotation sees the Fool referring to Lear's actions concerning Cordelia:

 

...That man makes his toe

What he his heart should make,

Shall of a corn cry woe

And turn his sleep to wake"

 

...

Find Another Essay On foolear The Wise Fool in Shakespeare's King Lear

The Role of the Fool in King Lear

2149 words - 9 pages Alison Dew Explore the role of the fool in King Lear. In Elizabethan times, the role of a fool, or court jester, was to professionally entertain others, specifically the king. In essence, fools were hired to make mistakes. Fools may have been mentally retarded youths kept for the court’s amusement, or more often they were singing, dancing stand up comedians. In William Shakespeare’s King Lear the fool plays many important roles. When

The Role of the Fool in King Lear

1111 words - 4 pages Untitled The Role of the Fool in King Lear King Lear is arguably one of the greatest of Shakespeare's tragedies. It is a tale of love and deceit, folly and loss, madness and sanity. Amid the action of Kings and knights, regents and dukes, turmoil and war stands the enigmatic character of the Fool. Unlike most of Shakespeare's Fools, The Fool in Lear is not even given a name even though he is one of the most important

Purpose of the Fool of King Lear

1161 words - 5 pages to moderate the king's behaviour. He holds dramatic importance by helping the reader and/or Shakespeare's audience to understand what lies benefit the surface of certain actions and events. The Fool plays an essential and necessary role in developing King Lear's character.At the start, King Lear already exemplifies signs of insanity. It may be wise to divide his kingdom for only that reason. Although, not trusting Cordelia is a sign of insanity

King Lear Essay Assignment: The Fool

812 words - 4 pages In every Shakespeare play, there is a guide mentor that observes the entirety of the protagonist’s position and acts as a counselor for such protagonist. In this case, we will be recognizing the guide mentor in Shakespeare’s, King Lear, which is portrayed by the character of the Fool. The Fool plays a very significant role within the play not only guiding Lear to become a better person, but also by using sharp, intelligent remarks with bright

Uncovering the Truth in Shakespeare's King Lear

1453 words - 6 pages Uncovering the Truth in King Lear      "Only through the loss of our possessions and worldly connections can one truly realize one's inner being" (Confucius). The true nature of man is known but is not commonly seen until adversity strikes. Characters reveal their true nature when they are reduced to nothing. In the play, King Lear, by William Shakespeare, there are three main themes that characters can be reduced by; social status

King Lear - Discuss the role of the fool in King Lear and his function in the unfolding of the plot

687 words - 3 pages In 'King Lear', the Fool is a character of dramatic importance in the play. The Fool helps the reader, and in Shakespeare's time would help the audience, to understand what lies beneath the surface of certain actions or verses. He equally strives to make Lear 'see'. The Fool may be a very intriguing character and very often a complicated one but his role is necessary in 'King Lear'.The Fool plays three major roles; one of these roles is that of

Catahrsis in Shakespeare's King Lear

916 words - 4 pages that he should?ve died, catharsis was done while for the others there?s again the stressful feeling when they walk out of the play. ?Some critics suggest that there is catharsis by interpreting the ending as a burst of joy that kills Lear. Others argue that there is no catharsis in King Lear because Lear lived as a fool and died as a fool and never fully recovered from his insanity.? The death of Cordelia and Lear is too distressing for the

Transformation of Lear in Shakespeare's King Lear

1714 words - 7 pages King Lear is a Shakespearian tragedy revolving largely around one central theme, personal transformation. Shakespeare shows in King Lear that the main characters of the play experience a transformative phase, where they are greatly changed through their suffering. Through the course of the play Lear is the most transformed of all the characters. He goes through seven major stages of transformation on his way to becoming an omniscient character

Paratextuality in Shakespeare's King Lear

3319 words - 13 pages Pitching Mad Boy: How Paratextuality Mediates the Distance Between Spectators, Adaptations, and Source Texts. A popular anecdote used to introduce students and spectators to King Lear tells how, for 150 years, the stage was dominated by Nahum Tate’s adaptation, in which Lear and Cordelia are happily reconciled, and Cordelia is married off to Edgar. Here is what N.H. Hudson had to say about Tate: This shameless, this execrable piece of

King Lear's Folly in Shakespeare's King Lear

1227 words - 5 pages King Lear's Folly    In Shakespeare's King Lear, the actions of King Lear and of his daughters bring ruin and chaos to England. Social structures crumble, foreign invaders threaten the land, and, in a distinctly non-Hollywood ending, almost everyone dies tragically. The outlook is very bleak, as many of the problems are left unresolved at the end of the play: There is no one in line to assume sovereignty, and justice and virtue have not

Shakespeare's King Lear - Suffering of Cordelia in King Lear

1503 words - 6 pages the Shakespeare that wrote King Lear... includes its capricious cruelty. And what meeter sacrifice to this than Cordelia?"5 Yet in another passage Granville-Barker has come much closer to touching on the real explanation. I quote the passage at length.   It will be a fatal error to present Cordelia as a meek saint. She has more than a touch of her father in her. She is as proud as he is, and as obstinate, for all her sweetness and

Similar Essays

Foolear Role Of The Fool In William Shakespeare's King Lear

803 words - 3 pages The Role of the Fool in William Shakespeare's King Lear In the play King Lear, by William Shakespeare, there are many intriguing characters. Perhaps the most intriguing of them all is the fool. The fool seems to exist outside the play appearing and disappearing without warning. The fool is, however, a necessary character to the evolution of Lear's character, since he is the personification of truth and reason. The fool serves to show Lear

Foolear A Fool For A King In William Shakespeare's King Lear

1116 words - 4 pages A Fool for a King in King Lear     In Shakespeare's play King Lear, the main character, King Lear, is presented as a respected and powerful king. As the story progresses the king loses his power because of his own stupidity and blindness. The tragedy of this play is shown chiefly through the actions of Lear’s daughters, which lead to Lear’s bout with insanity, and through the words of the Fool. At the beginning of the play, King Lear

The Wisdom Of King Lear's Fool In Shakespeare's King Lear

2833 words - 11 pages The Wisdom of King Lear's Fool in Shakespeare's King Lear King Lear's fool is undoubtedly one of the wisest characters in the play. He is not only able to accurately analyze a situation which many other characters are blind to, but he is also able to foreshadow the actions of many characters and many other incidents to come. The main instruction the fool gives to the king is to beware of doing things that are unnatural, such as giving

Fool In William Shakespeare's King Lear

1739 words - 7 pages Fool in William Shakespeare's King Lear The Fool’s function in King Lear is to create emphasis on the tragedy in the play and give insight into the characters’ true nature. He shows other characters’ nature though blunt comments and earns himself the name of ‘all-licensed Fool’, as he clearly states peoples’ inner personality. He develops the tragedy though a theme of madness and instability, from his use of