The theatrical Fool or clown with his songs, dances, and jests delighted the audience, and contributed much in adding a sense of entertainment to the play. "King Lear", however, is the only play among
the tragedies of Shakespeare in which a fool has been introduced, a fact which makes it rather strange why Shakespeare should have introduced such a character into his most painful tragedy. In this play the Fool does not have much in common with the light-hearted clowns of Shakespeare's comedies. His character, as a matter of fact, is far more complex and crucial than that of a mere entertainer. It is true that with his honesty, wit, and clever word play the Fool entertains not only the King, but the audience as well, and brings some light and humour into this tragedy. Yet in King Lear, the traditional Fool's gaiety is soured, not because the Fool has a gift of a true wit but because in the play he must assimilate the high tragedy of the situation and not to vulgarize it.
One of the Chief functions for which Shakespeare introduces the Fool seems to have been to provide a comic relief into a play where the events oppress our minds too much, and where the suffering of the chief protagonist become almost unendurable for the audience. Hence the need for the Fool... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2005, 12). The Character of the Fool in King Lear. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 12, 2005, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Character-Fool-King-Lear-75134.html
"The Character of the Fool in King Lear" StudyMode.com. 12 2005. 12 2005 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Character-Fool-King-Lear-75134.html>.
"The Character of the Fool in King Lear." StudyMode.com. 12, 2005. Accessed 12, 2005. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Character-Fool-King-Lear-75134.html.