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What is the role of the Fool in Shakespeare's King Lear - Essay Example

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Elizabethan actors were commonly described as characters that used to be significantly different from their intrinsic personalities. Many female characters played men. They played poor characters while being rich. …
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What is the role of the Fool in Shakespeares King Lear
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Download file to see previous pages Elizabethan actors were commonly described as characters that used to be significantly different from their intrinsic personalities. Many female characters played men. They played poor characters while being rich. Irrespective of the difference between drama and reality, the characters seemed real at least for the play’s duration. Shakespeare has capitalized at reality’s presence in various characteristics of life. It can be estimated from the fact that kings in the stories of Shakespeare were supposed to serve as guides, and display intelligence and good judgment. Their jesters entertained them in courts. Many fools would entertain the kings on the cost of their lives. Though, Shakespeare visualized truth before expectations. He was both able to see weakness in goodness, and logic in the tongue of a fool. Throughout the course of his plays, Shakespeare used to imply the very idea and portrayed two images for one face. There are many examples to support this assertion, one of which is the character of King Lear who displays dual nature. In the story of King Lear, Shakespeare has again capitalized on two images of the fool. Throughout the play of King Lear, the jester of the king is depicted as a foolish and cheerful person. However, the so-called Fool is actually, by no means a fool.The jester displays vision, foresight, idea, shrewdness, intelligence and sagacity. The Fool looks out for his own self besides projecting a carefree image. Apparently he shows up as a foolish person, but is extremely witty and sharp in reality. In fact, he is much wiser than King Lear. An in-depth analysis of the Elizabethan jesters suggests that they conventionally wore bells, bright clothes and covered their faces with masks. The same mask symbolizes the dual nature of the King Lear’s Fool. The Fool has two faces. First face is that of entertainment. Owing to an exceptionally good sense of humor, the Fool is quite good at entertaining others. His second face is that of truth, in which he offers very logical and knowledgeable philosophy on various social issues and taboos. At one point in the play, the Fool emphasizes upon the importance of sweet speech. He says, “Truth’s a dog must to kennel. He must be whipped out, / when the Lady Brach may stand by th’ fire and stink” (I.iv.103-104 cited in Grob). The Fool is completely aware of how badly a harsh reality can impact an audience that keeps an unwilling-to-hear mood and hence, covers his wise statements with the mask of wit. In the context of modern age, it is hard to realize a fool that is witty enough to be a nice politician and who makes efficient use of rhetoric in his speech. The Fool apparently projects that he is most happy and contented with any person that he interacts with, though he is actually much different. His shallow words have a much deep meaning in reality. The Fool roasts King Lear in a metaphorical manner through his banter just like a skilled politician, who makes use of sweet words so that he may take public into confidence and earn votes from them, and later, changes his policies. However, King Lear does not realize this. When in the play, the Fool says, “Though hadst little / wit in they bald crown when thou gav’st thy golden one away” (I.iv.135-137 cited in Grob), he actually calls King Lear “a fool” for having given his kingdom in the hands of his extremely greedy and selfish daughters. Shakespeare has maintained an ironic relationship between the Fool and King Lear throughout the play. Contrary to his supposed role as a prudent and thoughtful person, the king is actually no wiser than an idiot. In the very beginning of the story, King Lear asks his daughters to convey the love their feel for their father in words in exchange of a share in his kingdom. By asking his daughters to do this, King Lear adopts a very foolish approach to check his daughters’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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