Lear is used to enjoying absolute power and to being flattered, and he does not respond well to being contradicted or challenged.
Get Full Essay Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues. Throughout this tragedy of King Lear, an unlikely character is guiding him with the light of truth, his loyal companion the Fool.
Interestingly also, the characterization of the Fool is seemingly offset from the other characters. That is because the Fool is ironically the only character in the story that has a grip of the truth and the Fool is the character that is gifted with thoughtful insights and superb wisdom.
Actually, there is a historical basis for Shakespeare use of the fool in his plays. During the early times, fools, also known as clowns or jesters, were employed by people of noble stature to join their retinue.
In the period of the Renaissance, fools were even required to be licensed before they can be employed into the house of the rich people. Once employed, they were regarded as mascots, at the least, and at worst, reduced to being like animal pets. Hoenselaars There is also a historical basis to the threat of King Lear to the Fool that the Fool will be whipped for criticizing King Lear.
Fools during the early times were punished, like being whipped, for offending their masters Hoenselaars. King Lear was offended because he had surrounded himself with all these illusions of still being powerful even though his antagonists, including his conniving daughters, had stripped him of his former glory.
Serving punishment to the Fool was not exclusive to King Lear. Her conniving daughters had also whipped the Fool for speaking the truth that offended them. In the course of the play, King Lear would be asked by Goneril to leave his place.
And so King Lear resorted to asking his conniving daughter Regan for a place to stay. The Fool also played the role of a conscience, just what King Lear needs so badly. The Fool functions much like how a chorus does in a Greek tragedy by always commenting on the every actions, and even plans, of King Lear.
King Lear seems to be the kind of person who is solely dependent on interpersonal communication. He only responds to what the people around him, just like in case of his conniving sisters talking him to divide his kingdom among them. As we could observe in the play, the Fool was always around King Lear when the king was only on the brink of total insanity.
The Fool had reasoned with and had come up with quite a lot of advice for King Lear. The Fool is after all still human that role plays as conscience.
The Fool knows his job well and he is also aware of the descriptions of what he should do. It must have been tiring to be constantly thinking of entertaining lines while thinking about how it would help his master from being completely insane. This funny yet insightful exchange of lines between The Fool and King Lear is probably one of the most quoted lines from the play: The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason King Lear: Because they are not eight?
The character of the Fool is full of irony, just like his most important function in the play, the Fool makes King Lear, and also the audience, that King Lear is actually the most foolish out of all the characters within the play. This important function of the Fool is best displayed though the exchange of lines in act four of the play.
King Lear had asked if the Fool was treating him as a lowly fool. Another important thing to take into consideration is that the Fool seems to get way most of the time with his subtle ridicules towards King Lear.
Again, the character of the Fool highlights the foolishness of King Lear, that King Lear is not being aware of because he still has these illusions that he is highly and therefore he thinks nothing but highly about himself.
Another thing that is very admirable thing about the Fool is that he has noble intentions regarding his relationship with his master, King Lear. The Fool had stayed and helped King Lear even in his lowest of times. But then he had to leave King Lear, because that seems an impossible endeavor.
The Fool was just human after all, human that when all hope is lost, also loses their driving force.The Fool assumes the role of Lear's protector when Cordelia is banished.
The Fool functions much as a Chorus would in a Greek tragedy, commenting upon events and the king's actions and acting, in some ways, as the king's conscience. The Role of Disguises As deception appears to be a prominent theme in the plot of Shakespeare’s King Lear, one cannot evade the disguises and the ideas and people behind them.
The use of disguises as a literary feature opens the door for new subplots such as those of Kent and Edgar. Arguably, he could be seen as taking on the role of a wife for Lear; the absence of a mother from the main narrative, as well as the Fool's ability to be honest and accepted by the king suggests.
Shakespeare's use of doubling appears throughout King Lear.
For example, Kent's true loyalty to the king is paralleled by Oswald's corrupt loyalty to Goneril. Lear also has two sons-in-law.
The fool in King Lear is an example of Shakespeare using the fool as a voice to bridge the gap between the audience and the stage. The “all-licensed fool” makes many of his quips at the expense of the king.
Shakespeare's downbeat ending of the plot with the deaths of Lear and Cordelia (in contrast to his sources) has oppressed so many that it was often played with Nahum Tate's happy ending: with Edgar marrying Cordelia and Lear restored; the Fool eliminated and Arante added as confidant for Cordelia.