Essays on the fool in king lear

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Wit, and’t be thy will, put me into good fooling! I that am sure I lack thee may pass for a wise man. Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.

Shakespeare’s plays were written to be performed to an audience from different social classes and of varying levels of intellect. Thus they contain down-to-earth characters who appeal to the working classes, side-by-side with complexities of plot which would satisfy the appetites of the aristocrats among the audience. Through the form of dialogue Shakespeare conveys the relationship between characters.

For example, the friendship and understanding between Olivia, and her servant Feste, the clown, is shown in their dialogue in Act 1, Scene 5. In this scene Shakespeare shows that both characters are intellectuals by constructing their colloquy in prose. Far from being a fool, the clown is erudite and sagely and able to present the audience with a higher knowledge of the plot than that presented by the other characters in the play.

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