• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Consider the dramatic functions ofthe fool in King Lear".

Extracts from this document...


"Consider the dramatic functions of the fool in King Lear" Hannah veseli The fool's dramatic functions reach far further than is first obvious on the surface of his character. Although he is not without wit and humour, his usually gaiety has been soured to suit the high tragedy that is paramount to King Lear. His presence in King Lear, is not just to show the folly of the king (which is his actually job) as in other Shakespearean plays, but rather he has many other important dramatic functions. Having said that his gaiety is soured, he does provide a contrast to the otherwise perennial gloom that surrounds King Lear. This is used for a number of reasons; firstly if Shakespeare was to simply concentrate on the tragedy and not include any 'comical moments', the gloominess would become monotonous. However by adding contrast, almost by juxtaposition, it emphasises the depth and seriousness of the tragedy. This is especially true when one thinks that the fool's gaiety is less humorous than his predecessors, and in many cases simply common sense. ...read more.


One other way the fool is an apparatus for Lear's good side is the fact that he is the only person in the play that Lear will actually listen to, and may begrudgingly respect. Only the fool dares to confront Lear with the route of his folly and where Kent's quiet demur when criticising the King (about his rash treatment of Cordelia) results in immediate banishment, the fools criticisms are respected by Lear. This shows that Lear has the capability, if not the willingness, to listen and learn from others. Some critics have also suggested that Shakespeare created the fool to be seen as a profit figure, a wise-man that can foresee the future. There are two main parts of this in the play. The first is the Merlin like prophecy suggesting that when the everything is upside down, the world will be in confusion. This is a parody with the Kings situation "When every case in law is right; No squire in debt, nor no poor knight; When slanders do not live in tongues Nor cutpurses come to throngs; ...Then shall the realm of Albion Come to great confusion" The fool says that it is Merlin's prophecy. ...read more.


The Fool, as Kent is, is incredibly loyal to Lear, despite the treatment of Lear. Whereas others desert the now powerless king, the fool stays loyal. This shows two things, firstly the fool's own good character, but also that the King must have had some admirable qualities before he went mad, otherwise the fool would have also deserted him. To add to this admirable loyalty of the fool, he is doing it knowing that it is worthless, for he says to Kent, "All that follow their noses are led by their eyes but blind men;..." This quotation from the Fool to Kent suggests that Kent is mad to be following this 'fading star'. Ironically the fact they both are only serves to greaten the loyalty that they are showing.: In conclusion the Fool is far from a fool. He is not responsible for any of the folly in play, nor is he as conceited (Edmund), as evil (Goneril, Regan) or ignorant (Gloucester, Edgar) as other characters. Although his time in the play, is relatively brief, he serves to show us many different dramatic functions of the play, and the play would be less rounded without this very human character. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level King Lear section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level King Lear essays

  1. Explore the presentation of Edmund in 'King Lear'

    after which Edmund begins to see his fortune fall, lamenting. The illusion of suddenly emergent `moral consciousness' in Edmund's last act would agree with his habitual feigning of innocence and maintained illusion of `virtue and obedience'. That Edmund would end his days with a compassionate thought is simply not believable.

  2. With particular reference to Act 1, Scene 1, show how Shakespeare presents the character ...

    already said to Lear; she says she loves him just like a daughter, and that her sisters are lying; they can't possibly love him with all their hearts, as they both have husbands, whom they will undoubtedly love also. She also says that when she gets married, half of her

  1. Social injustices in King Lear

    However Edmond's personality slightly changes at the end of the play only when he is dying, he says 'some good I mean to do' showing that he is reproachful and wants to undo his doings through simple words like attempting to save Cordelia's life, however he says 'despite mine own

  2. In Shakespeare's King Lear, the Fools main function is to play three major roles. ...

    He uses these tools to interrupt the mounting tension while making his points at the same time. It is evident to everyone but the king how foolish he is. At this point in the play, not only does Lear respect The Fool, but he also treats him as a loved one.

  1. King Lear, Femininity and Female Disorder

    Goneril refuses to accommodateLear's one hundred knights for she fears that the palace be degraded to a "brothel"(Act I, Scene IV,L. 237. This opinion is loaded with irony since she prostitutes herself for power and later for her paramour, Edmund.

  2. Just how admirable is Edmund?

    probably not, but from a spectators point of view it is so impressive how Edmund will back himself no matter what circumstance, no matter what the situation. This is ultimately his downfall when his arrogance ("In wisdom I should ask thy name/ But since thy outside looks so fair and

  1. "How does Shakespeare illuminate and develop character in the opening scenes of King Lear?"

    a "whoreson" suddenly becomes of importance to him, and Edmunds acceptance of him becomes of great importance to Gloucester also. Gloucester also develops in the way his manner towards Edgar changes. He turns on him completely, ordering Edmund to seek him out immediately.

  2. Compare and contrast madness: its possible causes; its manifestations; its consequences; and its resolution, ...

    one of the few voices of truth, advising his "loved" and "honoured" Lear with as much reason as is permitted by the situation, damning Lear's "hideous rashness." Lear, consumed by self-imposed blindness, combats truth by ordering its banishment, choosing to silence emergent voices of sense.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work