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The importance of the fool in king lear a play by william shakespeare

Examination Questions on King Lear Question: Discuss the Fool in King Lear and his function in the play.

Was he a boy or a man? Our estimate of King Lear depends very much on the view we take of the Fool. Superficially considered, his presence is a blemish in the work; but a close analysis of the characters proves that he is necessary to the full development and right understanding of all the principal characters.

The intense passion of Lear would be wanting in pathos were it not for the silent sympathy which exists between him and this soul of pathos. Shakespeare endears him to us when he introduces him pining for the embodiment of womanly purity.

  1. It could be said that the Fool is able to talk to Lear with his words bearing no weight on anything.
  2. Although he is cynical about human nature he is totally loyal and utterly giving with no expectation of gratitude in return.
  3. The Fool serves as a symbol of truth, characterizing Lear as foolish. It can be seen clearly in Act 3 Scene 2 as Kent tries to make Lear take shelter, and he refuses until he sees his fool shivering.

We know at once that his soul reverences truth and seeks with a tender, clinging love for the loyalty whose "low sound reverbs no hollowness.

Courageous enough to dare Goneril in the angry words "A fox, when one has caught her, And such a daughter, Should sure to the slaughter, If my cap would buy a halter. A privileged character, he everywhere turns his privileges into charities.

Discuss the role of the fool in “King Lear” Essay

Highly intellectual, he uses his wit in urging his master to resume the shape he has cast off; and so pointed and earnest are his reproaches, so acute is his perception of the wTongs done to Cordelia, and which his master persists in doing to himself, that we cannot believe that he is "altogether fool" in any speech.

Even after the attempt to goad Lear into a reasonable course has been given up, we find the Fool laboring to out-jest the "heart- struck injuries" of the insane king. But we do not need a second confirmation of the bond between this tenderest, truest of natures and the obstinate, persistent, remorseful Lear when we hear "No more of that; I have noted it well.

And when we know that he has been slowly but surely dying as his heartstrings broke one after another under the weight of another's woe, the exclamation III. His mourning for the loss of Cordelia; Lear's speaking of him as "my pretty knave," and again, his saying, "How dost, my boy?

What is the importance of the Fool in the play "King Lear"?

Such is, I believe, the opinion of the majority of the best critics; but Mr. Furness thinks that he was one of the shrewdest, tenderest of men shrewd from his experience of the world's deceitfulness, tender from participation in the woes to which his position was incident.

  • In order to criticize the king, the Fool appears after Lear has made his fatal error of giving his kingdom to his evil daugthers and disowning Cordelia;
  • In genuine madness Lear has began to see his situation with a clear perspective, whereas Edgar, through fake madness, is able to have an insight of how the his trust in Edmund, his brother, was abused and brought him to his current situation;
  • It is here in which the Fool is a form of conscience for Lear, something that does not change even though contingency and context changes so many others in the drama;
  • Like Kent the Fool speaks truthfully offering wisdom, however Kent speaks as an equal;
  • It is here in which the Fool is a form of conscience for Lear, something that does not change even though contingency and context changes so many others in the drama.

I see nothing incompatible with this shrewdness in the active, discerning intellect of a boy; and an intensely sympathetic nature is always tender. These trials develop in him loving, whole-souled boyhood, the qualities which Mr. Furness claims for the "man" only. How to cite this article: William Taylor Thom, M.