Shakespeare's Fool Research Paper

Decent Essays

Shakespeare’s Fool is often the sole character who avoids being sucked into the dramatic maelstrom that engulfs other characters. Fools make jokes and can be relatively easy to pass over. It is as though they are saying - laugh away and ignore the man telling jokes. However, their jokes hold the key to some of Shakespeare’s beliefs and outlook on life. They reveal his existential musings such as “who are we?” and “what is the meaning of it all?”. Fools try to answer these questions at the same time as they amuse audiences. Shakespeare’s Fool suggests one is better off laughing at and with the more difficult aspects of the human condition.

There are two primary types of fools in Shakespeare’s work: Fools and fools. Marked Fools are characters unto themselves, but fools …show more content…

These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air; And like the baseless fabric of this vision, / … shall dissolve; / And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, / Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff / As dreams are made on, and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep.”

Macbeth briefly revisits this thought: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

This latter was seen by some as a negative philosophy. George Bernard Shaw termed it “Shakespeare’s despair.” (cited in Eastman, 172–173, 165). But Shakespeare does not present despair as a forgone conclusion. Foolish “wits” like Macbeth, Jacques and Prospero take themselves too seriously, while the Fool is an astute observer and commentator on the proceedings he is witness to. Are any of these characters real? From the point of view of the audience, Hamlet, the visiting troupe he engages to perform the play within a play and Fools are all actors playing their particular roles. Are they really any different from one

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