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King Lear Fool

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by

Nico B.-W.

on 23 October 2014

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Transcript of King Lear Fool

Theme of inversion

Overarching Theme Relating to the Fool
First Lines - shrishti
Act 1 Scene iv - page 27/28
"Let me hire him too.—Here’s my coxcomb"
"Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb."
"There, take my coxcomb. Why, this fellow has banished two on ’s daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will. If thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.—How now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters."
Origin of The Fool
The Fool uses word play in order to guide Lear in the correct path
IB English HL
Nico BW, Shrishti Tyagi, Amy Joo, Isabel Kim

The Significance of the Fool
Duplicity of the Fool's Language
Fool's Importance in regard to Lear's Journey
Poof!
The Fool disappears never to be seen again

When Cordelia arrives the Fools services are no longer required

Normal Shakespearean fools would arrive for comedic relief after the horrific events

Fools wit is not transferred to Cordelia

"and my poor Fool is hanged"
- Lear
The Fool is mentioned here as a name for Cordelia, showing that in Lear's mind they are practically the same entity

There is no comedic relief
Lost and Forgotten
Final Lines
THE END
Introduction
'funny,' 'witty,' 'intelligent,' 'loyal' and 'honest'

small, but influential role
makes prophecies, represents reality and is a catalyst .

Lear's closest adviser,

Foresee the consequences of Lear's actions and is nervous at the King's new found wrath.


A fool's job is to entertain upper nobility

But here he critics and then advises the king



Theme of Order vs. Chaos
The fool accompanies Lear on his journey in the storm
MEANS:
Why? For standing up for this unpopular king. No, if you can’t adjust to political changes, you’ll suffer for it. There, take my fool’s cap. This guy here has banished two of his daughters and blessed the third one without intending to. If you work for him, you’re a fool and should wear a fool’s cap.—So how’s it going, uncle? I wish I had two fool’s caps and two daughters
Analysis
The fool establishes himself as a self-confident, quick-witted character, as he implies to Kent that those who follow Lear are fools.
Theme of inversion because hes giving his coxcomb(fool's hat) to a noble

which degrades the noble
the fool is denoted as a lower ranking and thus by offering his coxcomb, he is putting himself above
The fool uses his coxcomb, a fool’s cap, as a metonymic device to criticize Lear’s foolish division of the kingdom and Kent’s idiocy in his will to follow Lear, who now has nothing.
Fool also believes that Lear is foolish for banishing his daughters

Relates to the idea of inversion in the Kingdom.
Person of a lower ranking believes his King is a fool

He tells Kent that 'this fellow' (i.e. Lear) has inadvertently 'banished' Goneril and Regan by giving them lands, and 'blessed' Cordelia by sending her away. Even at this stage, he predicts the chaos that will befall the Kingdom as a result of Lear's division.

Then Fool says
¨if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb"
Act I Scene IV
The roles have been reversed: the Fool is now Lear's sensible guardian, while Lear has started to talk nonsense, dream and act bizarrely.
As Lear degenerates into madness

Once the fool brings Lear to his allies then he is no longer needed

Lear no longer feels the need for the Fool's wit and guidance

Lear feels that he knows what's best for him and does not feel the need for criticism

Now that the Fool has passed on his wisdom Shakespeare no longer feels the need to keep him around suggesting that there was never a happy nor comedic end to this play

Act 3 Scene VI Line 84

When Lear declares,
“We’ll go to supper i’ the morning”

thus echoing the confusion of the natural order in the play

the Fool answers, “
And I’ll go to bed at noon”
. Act III Scene VI Line 78
Fool plays great role in regards to Lear's life and physical journey
Key factor in Lear's evolution as a character

In these scenes, Shakespeare continues to develop Lear’s madness which is influenced by the Fool's comments.

The Fool’s remark “He’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf” refers to Lear’s folly in trusting his two wolf-like daughters.
Act III Scene VI Line 16
The Mock Trial
Since Lear is sliding into madness, he can no longer understand the nonsense of the Fool (who actually is sane) but he can relate to Edgar, who pretends to be mad.
In his final line, he predicts his death.

The play never reveals whether the Fool actually dies, since the lines in Act V Scene 3 —
"And my poor fool is hang'd"
— refer to Cordelia's death.

dying at noon = at the highest point in the day and his life.

The Fool has fulfilled his role, stepping in to take Cordelia's place after her banishment and disappearing as she reappears.

Both Cordelia and the Fool are caretakers for Lear, and when one is present, the other need not be.
The Fool's word play on the word "
fool
" in
Act II scene iv
"That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain
And leave thee in the storm.
But I will tarry; the
fool

will stay,
And let the wise man fly.
The
knave
turns

fool

that runs away;
The
fool no knave, perdy
.


Duplicity of the Fool's Language
"Winter's not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way.
Fathers that wear rags
Do make their children blind;
But fathers that bear bags
Shall see their children kind.
Fortune, that arrant whore,
Ne'er turns the key to th' poor.
But for all this, thou shalt have as many
dolors
for thy
daughters as thou canst tell in a year."
-Act II Scene IV
Fool's criticism towards Lear
“O nuncle, court
holy water
in a dry house is better than this
rainwater
out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters blessing. Here’s a night pities neither wise man nor fool.” -
Act III Scene II
Reference to two different types of water
ultimately pointing out the truth behind people
“Let me hire him too.—
Here’s my coxcomb.

“Why? For taking one’s part that’s out of favor.
Nay, and thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly. There, take my coxcomb. Why, this fellow has banished two one’s daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will. If thou follow him,
thou must needs wear my coxcomb
.—How now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters.”
-Act I Scene IV
Use in duplicity of language not only to Lear but to those who are loyal to Lear (Kent)
“O nuncle, court holy
water
in a dry house is better than this rain
water
out o' door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters blessing. Here’s a night pities neither wise man nor fool.”
Act III Scene II
element of water emphasized
element wise, Fool represents water and Lear represents fire
water cools down fire = Fool calms Lear down
opposite elemental roles connects with the inverted role between Fool and Lear
“Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.”
“Why, to put ’s head in—not to give it away to
his daughters and leave his horns without a case.”
Act I Scene V
Fool's criticism towards Lear by using snail as an example
Compares the King (Lear) to a snail
“This is a brave night to cool a courtesan.
I’ll speak a
prophecy
ere I go.
When priests are more in word than matter,
When brewers mar their malt with water,
When nobles are their tailors' tutors,
No heretics burned but wenches' suitors,
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 not to throngs,
When usurers tell their gold i' th' field,
And bawds and whores do churches build—
Then shall the realm of Albion
Come to great confusion.
Then comes the time, who lives to see ’t,
That going shall be used with feet.
This
prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time.

Act III Scene II
Fool makes his grandest prophecy which reiterates the play's message of negative consequences of turning Nature on its head
The Fool's contribution to the list of ironic role of inversion
Fool's role of Lear's sensible guardian
Fill the role of comedic relief after a horrific event:
ex) The Gravediggers, Hamlet
The Porter, Macbeth
Equivalent of the Chorus


Both the Fool and Cordelia take on the role of Lear's protector

The Fool is never on stage at the same time as Cordelia

"And my poor fool is hanged"
- Lear Act V Scene III

Is he talking about his daughter or the Fool?
Significance of the Fool
First appears after Cordelia is banished

Catalyst for Lear's process of self- awareness

Role as an adviser of the king

Only character able to criticize

Leads Lear to find sanity and wisdom

"There, take my coxcomb! Why,
this fellow has banished two on's daughters, and
did the third a blessing against his will. If thou follow
him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.—How
now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters"
Act I Scene V

Key Passages of the Fool
Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore,
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shall have more
Than two tens to a score.


Act I Scene IV


Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?/Nor I neither. But I can tell why a snail has a house./Why, to put ’s head in—not to give it away to his daughters and leave his horns without a case.
Act I Scene V
He that has and a little tiny wit, With hey, ho, the wind and the rain, Must make content with his fortunes fit, Though the rain it raineth every day.
Act III Scene II
Full transcript