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Home » , » Discuss the importance of the Fool in King Lear
The role and function of the Fool is of great dramatic  significance in Shakespearean play. The Fool is one of the most important characters of the tragedy. In modern time, most of the spectator seems that the Fool is to be a strange kind of person.But the figure of the Fool was familiar to Shakespeare's original spectators. In King Lear, Fool is not a foolish character rather he has some good qualities. In this play, he is a sloped as well as a wise person. The Fool of this play has wisdom in disguise. According to some critics, without the character of the Fool, the play would have suffered dramatically. Most of the Shakespearean Fools have got names but Lear's Fool is nameless. A careful study of the plot reveals that among all Shakespeare's Fools, Lear's Fool has wisdom in disguise and the importance of the Fool in King Lear. Lear's Fool is the most intellectual. Primarily, he is acting as the conscience of the old king. The Fool makes King Lear a wise man, a real man. He makes him understand the meaning of true love.The Fool was a professional Jester. At the court it was his function to amuse the King and the courtiers by his witty remarks. His talk was a mixture of wit and wisdom. King Lear is the only tragedy among Shakespeare's major ones in which a Fool has been introduced. The Fool makes large number of sarcastic remarks on the folly which Lear has committed by giving away all his power and authority to two of his daughters and keeping nothing for himself. Lear's Fool is not without worldly wisdom. He realizes what is happening to the King while Lear is still entirely oblivious of his loss of power. When the disguised Kent seeks service with the fallen Lear, the Fool offers Kent his coxcomb, the badge of a fool, 'for taking one's part that's out of favour'. But when Lear is actually turned out by Goneril, the Fool, forgets self-interest. It seems hardly possible that Lear's character should be properly developed without the Fool. Indeed, he serves as a common standard and exponent of all the characters about him.

In King Lear, the Fool is full of sympathy. The process of his interest is very peculiar and recondite. His anguish is purely the anguish of sympathy. He withdraws from the scene with the words, And I'll go to bed at noon". The deepest grief of all has now over taken him: his old master's wits are shattered. To prevent this, he has been toiling his forces to the utmost; and, now that it has come in spite of him, he has no longer anything to live for. In fine, we can say that the Fool in King Lear does not make us laugh lightly but his witty comments do indeed relieve the tension, which might otherwise become unbearable. Beyond this he serves to highlight poignantly the King's folly, and, when Lear realizes this mistake, becomes his master's helper. With Lear's madness, the Fool's role ends.


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