How Does Shakespeare Use the Fool in King Lear

How Does Shakespeare Use the Fool in King Lear

  • Submitted By: romz
  • Date Submitted: 05/07/2013 1:54 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 417
  • Page: 2
  • Views: 1

Shakespeare uses the fool in Act 1 Scene 3 in order to represent clarity and the right thing to do, while King Lear continues to make poor judgements clouded by his own emotions. This is most clearly shown with “thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away”, which clearly shows the fool reminding Lear that he has thrown away his best daughter.

The fool traditionally represents someone who is merely there to entertain and perform. In those days a fool was solely for the benefit of the King, and he could say whatever he wanted, because he was the fool. The name ‘fool’ even suggests a lack of wisdom and no common sense. However Shakespeare uses the whole idea of the fool in an ironic sense and uses him as a character that focuses the audience on the true issue at hand in the long dialogue of scene 3. This issue which is Lear’s stupidity and lack of clarity which this fool is now exhibiting and using to try and make Lear understand his mistakes.

The fool is therefore being used to reveal character flaws in character such as Kent and Lear “if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb” which is naming Kent and Lear as fools and therefore they should don his cap. He also directly accuses of making a stupid decision “thou hast pared thy wit o’ both sides, and left nothing I’ the middle” which is stating that he has given Goneril and Regan all this power but hasn’t given himself any protection from them.

Throughout scene 3 the fool creates tension through his direct mocking of Lear through rhythmic language, which goads him “an you lie, sirrah, we’ll have you whipped” to which the fool replies “they’ll have me whipped for speaking true, thou’lt have me whipped for lying”. This creates tension because the audience know that the fool is speaking sense yet Lear is still blind to this and trusts his daughters.

Therefore to conclude, Shakespeare is using the fool to narrate to the audience throughout the scene as to what...

Similar Essays