preview

King Lear Fool

Good Essays
Shakespeare’s fools are more than just court jesters. Their purpose is to provide insight and wisdom, which they often do in a witty manner. In King Lear, by William Shakespeare, the Fool behaves as a symbol for King Lear’s rationality and sanity. Throughout the play, Lear’s rationality and sanity quickly diminishes; causing a transformation into a literal fool. After the storm, Lear’s sanity and rationality completely disappear and Lear completes his transformation into the literal fool. The Fool is not present for the remainder of the play because Lear no longer has rationality and sanity. In King Lear, King Lear’s rationality is physically manifested as the Fool; therefore, instead of King Lear partaking in any rational behavior, the Fool…show more content…
The Fool’s purpose is to remove Lear from this dream-like state by trying to force Lear to face the reality of his current predicament. When Lear gave away his kingdom to his daughters, he gave up the right to be treated as a king, which is the reason that Oswald called Lear “My lady’s father” instead of King Lear (I.iv.74). However, this reminds Lear that he is no longer King Lear, but instead just a father with little to no power or authority. This realization became too much to bear for Lear, causing him to behave irrationally by striking Oswald. In this situation, Lear was being moronic for striking Oswald; since he, by technicality, did not own any property and reduced himself to existing as only a father instead of a property owning king. Lear willingly gave up all rights as a king. Therefore, he gave up all rights to be treated as royalty making his actions toward Oswald, who gave Lear the respect he deserves, foolish. After this irrational action the Fool, Lear’s rationality, reappears to remind Lear that he had no right to strike Oswald and calls Lear “a bitter fool” since he gave away all “other titles”(I.iv.133,138). This scolding shows that the Fool is the symbol for Lear’s rationality and as Lear’s rationality, the Fool is required to humble Lear when he forgets his place. Lear rationally knows that he was foolish when he gave up all of his rights to be treated like a king. Therefore, Lear does not argue against the Fool when he brazenly reminds Lear that he may be “a Fool”, but Lear is “nothing” (I.iv.175,176). Lear is behaving irrationally because he is unable to accept that he no longer holds any power or prestige. Since the Fool is the symbol for Lear’s rationality it would only make sense that only he would directly remind Lear of his current
Get Access