Essay about The Role Of The Fool In King Lear

To understand the Fool in this story we need to know what a fool is. “Fool: also called jester, a comic entertainer whose madness or imbecility, real or pretended, made him a source of amusement and gave him license to abuse and poke fun at even the most exalted of his patrons. ” (Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1995 ed. ) Although the fool is a funny entertainer, he tells the hard truth. He is “allowed” to tell the cold, hard truth about someone or something. This is only allowed for him, it would be inappropriate for someone else to point out hardships.

The way they would do this is through a parable, riddle, or a story. Where he can act funny, crazy, weird, and outrageous, but underneath, he is giving us an underlining meaning about a certain issue or hard truth. With saying all of that, the fool was a crucial part of that time period and make critical changes in society. In King Lear, the fool was Lear’s “handler or advocate” after Cordelia is banished. The fool is an essential character role in this drama. Like we said earlier, the fool was allowed to point out the King’s mistakes.

He is the only one that can and anyone else could be put to the death if they did. He would not be blunt about it, but rather humorous and sarcastic to ease the truth. This would allow the King not to get angry so he would not make irrational decisions. When the fool is calling out the King’s wrong, he is being his moral and spiritual ego. Allowing the King to see what is right and the correct way to approach an issue. The fool also travels wherever the King goes. The fool is like a butler or bodyguard in that sense.

Here is a line to show the role of the fool in the story. “There, take my coxcomb! Why, this fellow has banished two on’s daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will. If thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb. –How now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters! ” These lines below show how the fool is using words to respond to King Lear and how he should be acting and not what he is. This is showing how the fool is pointing out what Lear is doing wrong.

He is almost in a sense being Lear’s conscience, like being that little voice in your head trying to tell you what is right. “Have more than thou showest, Speak less than thou knowest, Lend less than thou owest, Ride more than thou goest, Learn more than thou trowest, Set less than thou throwest; Leave thy drink and thy whore, And keep in-a-door, And thou shall have more, Than two tens to a score. ” The fool in this is loyal to King Lear. No matter where the King went, the fool went. He always stayed with the King. Without the fool, Lear would be lost within himself.

His is a madman after the first part of the story, he starts going insane. The fool is there to keep him in check and in tune with reality. During the storm, the fool acts as a supporter for King Lear. While Lear is fighting this physical and mental warfare in his mind and struggling to understand the corrupt world of man, the fool is there trying to bring him back to reality. “He that has and a little tiny wit, With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, Must make content with his fortunes fit, Though the rain it raineth every day. Ironically, one of the funniest things is that there is a certain turn around point where the King and the Fool almost switch places. Throughout the story the fool has been giving him helpful information about certain decisions. He has been truly a helper and providing great insight on real-life problems. Therefore, proposing the question, who is the fool of them two? Lear asks, “Dost thou call me a fool, boy? ” to which Fool replies, “All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with”. The “king has been openly debased to the level of the fool. ”

At the end of act 3, the fool makes an exit and never returns because the king is in full madness and beyond the help of a fool. Fool: “And I’ll go to bed at noon. ” There was no actual answer of what happens to the fool. These lines suggest that he may have died. Lear: “And my poor fool is hang’d: no, no, no life? ” Overall, the fool is a pivotal character that affected a lot of the plot. He helped King Lear with many different tasks using his comedic and sarcastic word choice. Without the fool, the whole story would be different because he affected how King Lear dealt with certain situations.