The Fool

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The fool
In the play King Lear by William Shakespeare, the fool plays a very significant role. Shakespeare uses the fool as comic relief, as well as commentator on Lear’s mistake. The fool helps to highlight the plight of the tragic hero, challenging the King’s frenzy with his jokes, riddles and songs. His speeches are full of wit and wisdom, pointing out Lear’s foolishness, and appealing to the slight sense of sanity that still exists. The fool’s main purpose in the play is to make the king see the world and laugh at his fear. He provides comic which relives temporary pathos though his jokes and riddles - “If a man’s brains were in’s heels, were’t not in danger of kibes? Then, I prithee, be marry; thy wit shall not go slip-shod.” This is when Lear just starting to realize that he has wronged his youngest daughter Cordilia. While it is so depressing to see how Lear’s two elder daughters being evil to him, the fool in this case offers a little break and relieves both Lear’s and us the audience’s pathos. This comic relief is only for a short period, because what is coming up will be more excruciating, such as being kicked out into the storm before the disintegration of the entire royal family. The fool’s songs here are so appropriate to the moment, directly bearing upon the real situation and development of the play, which he is trying to explain to both Lear and us the audience in a light-hearted way - “Canst tell me how an oyster make his shall? Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house, to put’s head in; not to give it away to his daughters, and leave is horns without a case.” The fool enters in Act I, Scene 4, just after Lear has divided his kingdom to his daughters and when he becomes aware of Goneril’s badly treatment. The fool is here to make Lear see what he has done, and to understand the mistakes he has made. Believing that Lear should not have rejected Cordelia and given all his power to Goneril and Regan, the fool keeps reminding Lear of...
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