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With detailed reference to the scenes in King Lear that you have studied so far, discuss the importance of the characters of Kent and the Fool in the play.

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Introduction

With detailed reference to the scenes in King Lear that you have studied so far, discuss the importance of the characters of Kent and the Fool in the play. Although they are far from being major players in the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear, both the Earl of Kent and The Fool are important in their own right and both are crucial in Lear's journey to eventual redemption. The Earl of Kent is King Lear's most loyal and dedicated supporter. He sticks with Lear through thick and thin solely out of love and respect for him, with no hint of selfishness or ulterior motives in his actions. Kent, however, does not follow Lear blindly whichever road he takes. Rather, Kent offers Lear advice, which more often than not, falls on deaf ears. ...read more.

Middle

He is only loyal to Goneril because she is a source of power, unlike Kent, who proves his unwavering loyalty to Kent when he stays with him event though now he is worth nothing. Kent is also a very reliable judge of character. He sees through Goneril and Regan's false adulation and recognizes Cordelia's simple yet true devotion for her father. He also disapproves of Oswald's lack of authentic loyalty to his masters, and proceeds to insult Oswald on the grounds of being a "knave", a "whoreson" and "one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service". Kent is also devoted to Cordelia, and sees her as a potential redeemer and a hope for a better life. Another staunch supporter of Lear is The Fool, a court jester licensed to say whatever he wants to make the King laugh. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Fool is seen as an alternative for Cordelia, Lear's dearest of his children. Cordelia and the Fool are never in the same scene which may imply that they hold the same significance in Lear's eyes. Later on in the play the Fool is replaced by Edgar in the role of guide in Lear's voyage of change. The Fool disappears when he is no longer needed and is duly substituted by Cordelia. Lear's change of character throughout the play is largely thanks to the characters of Kent and the Fool, the only people who stood by him and shown him any real love and respect. Their role is critical to the play, as they stand out from the other characters that are only loyal to Lear for personal gain. This helps Lear recognize the important things in life and in turn, help him become a better human being. Joslyn Sammut English Tutorial Advanced 1st Year Group 2.5 ...read more.

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