The Fool.

Jester’s roles in a kingdom are seldom admired roles in stories or in history. When you think of a jester, you tend to think of a clownish comedian whose sole purpose is to entertain the rich. In most cases that is true. Jesters are traditionally a way for the rich to entertain themselves whenever they please and the jester must do so. So it’s interesting to see Shakespear take such an alternative route when introducing the character ¨The Fool¨.

Key moments and facts | King Lear | Royal Shakespeare Company

The Fool still plays the role of any other jester to the king. That doesn’t necessarily change. He is meant to entertain the king whenever the king pleases and he must do so all the time. What makes The Fool different from other jesters is its importance to the audience. The Fool is our entertainer as the reader. Instead of The Fool telling stories and acting funny for us, he gives us insight on less surface-level topics that surround the king’s mind. It is fair to say that whether The Fool is real or just the king’s conscious, he knows everything about the king. As the king’s protector, the fool is an advocate for all of King Lear’s actions. We see this most prevalently in the storm scene where The Fool stands in the rain and gives the audience a full speech on King Lear’s actions. This is Shakespeare’s subtle way of getting what he needs to say said. Instead of having Lear unnaturally explain his genuine thoughts and ideas at one time to the audience, The Fool is our entertainer and does these things for us.

In my opinion, I think The Fools character is a vital piece in ¨King Lear¨ because his character creates a flow in the story that is almost a comic relief to the audience in this tragic story. So in the end it is safe to say that The Fool is the reader’s jester.

3 thoughts on “The Fool.

  1. Cory Y

    There are some characters in King Lear which comment on the Fool’s remarkable insight into what is happening in the play (especially Kent’s comment, “This is not altogether fool”). It also is interesting that as Lear becomes more aware of his follies and more clear-eyed about the situation he is in, he describes himself as more and more of a fool (and mad) than before. It is as if being somewhat of a fool is part of his development to become more perceptive of the world around him.


  2. Charles D.

    I like this post and your insight on how the Fool reveals stuff to the audience. This is true. It is also worth remembering that he is straightforward with Lear rather than being his lackey. That trait makes him memorable.


  3. NIAH K.

    I liked your take on the fool, because while he did play his role in being the jester to the king and us, he was also able to be honest in what he was telling the king. Throughout the play, the fool, was one of the few characters to speak honestly to the king. I also really enjoyed coming across the fool’s lines throughout the play because it gave the book enjoyable moments even if we were unable to completely understand what the fool was saying.


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