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The fool in King Lear is an all licensed jouster in King Lear’s court. He appears after the disowning and banishment of cordelia. He critics King Lear for this. He goes with Lear into the storm and helps him to realize his own folly. He is responsible for Lear’s change in character towards the end of the play. The fool disappears at the time cordelia comes back.
Apart from the plot development the fool enforces the themes in the play for example self realization. It is the fool by his wise saying and proverbs that change king Lear and help him to see his mistakes. He pens King Lear’s eyes to the injustice that was going on in the kingdom. Lear starts to care for people like the fool and Edgar when he tells them to enter the hovel and he remains outside in the bitter cold.
The fool brings out the theme of loyalty in “King Lear”. The fool stays with King Lear throughout his suffering in the storm and comforts him when his two daughters Goneril and Regan treat him badly. He shows loyalty to king Lear even when he runs mad.
He also helps portray the theme of suffering in the play. The fool together with King Lear suffer the cold and wind of the storm. The fool gets beatings from king lear and abuses from Goneril.
He further develops the theme of injustice in the play king Lear. Through his riddles, proverbs he brings out the injustice that king Lear has inflicted on people like cordelia and Kent.
The fool further helps in developing the theme of love. It’s the fools love for King Lear that makes him stay with King Lear throughout the storm. He comforts Lear out of love and pity. Its his love for king Lear that makes him critic him so that he can change for the better.
The theme of endurance is portrayed through the fool. The fool endures the storm for the sake of king Lear. He also endures abuses from Goneril and beating from King Lear.
The fool also helps in characterization. He helps us understand the character of King Lear. The fool ironically portrays Lear as a fool because he gave away everything that of his including his power. This is evident when the fool tells King Lear about his Cox combs.
The fool brings out king Lear’s character as short tempered. When the fool critics the king for his mistake Lear threatens to whip the fool.
The fool is portrayed as intelligent. This can be proved by his wise saying and proverbs for example the two Cox combs. He quickly sees that Lear has done a mistake and critics him for it.
He is a loyal character. He stays with King Lear throughout his sufferings in the storm. He does not reject King Lear like his daughters, Cornwall and Edmund. He obediently follows him into the storm.
He is enduring. The fool stays with the king during the storm inside the hovel without warmth. He endures the abuses form society and the taunts of Goneril.
The fool is brave. He courageously goes into the storm. He bravely critics Goneril for her disloyalty towards her father and all the lies.
The fool is open-minded unlike the rest he tells King Lear that he has done something wrong and will pay for it. Its through this nature that Lear comes to self realization.
He is also loving and caring. He cares for Lear in the storm when he is mad. He loves Lear too much that he follows him into the storm.
The fool helps in bringing out dramatic techniques like dialogues. It’s through his dialogues with King Lear that bring about Lear’s change of heart. The dialogues also bring out his various attributes e.g. intelligent, open-minded and humorous.
He also brings out the technique of symbolism. Through his wise sayings the symbolism of the Cox combs is revealed. He tells Lear that he should have at least remained with the Cox combs i.e. Lear could have given out everything but retained his power.
He also brings out the dramatic irony. It is ironic that the fool, someone seen by society as stupid, is the one who advises the king whose is supposed to be wise.
The technique of humor is brought out by the fool. The fool’s proverbs and sayings are in a humorous form. His mocking of Lear is funny.
Suspense is another technique brought out by the fool. When cordelia comes back the fool mysteriously disappears and we are left in suspense as to his whereabouts.
KEY WORDS; King Lear, the fool, King, fool, Lear
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