Analysis of Shakespeare's King Lear: The King's Foolishness and His Fool's Wisdom | Owlcation
Reversal in hierarchy plays a central part in the king and the fool's relationship. The fool assists Lear in gaining wisdom and humility. He is the. Shakespeare's King Lear begins with a love test in which Lear tries to divide his The Fool continues to reiterate to the king that Lear is the actual fool, despite the . which is exactly what the Fool is and what the relationship between the Fool. Gillian Woods considers how the Fool and Poor Tom, two characters in King Lear who stand outside the social order, enhance the play's.
The precise definition of the word renaissance, according to the Webster New World College Dictionary is: Therefore, Shakespeare was a literary anthropologist and true Renaissance man. He took old myths, folktales, and archetypes and made them fresh. When first created, the original cards were unnamed and unnumbered, but were comprised of the same twenty-two images that were later interpreted as being medieval social types, moral homilies, virtues, and mythological and religious stories.
As later numbered the zero card, the Fool begins the journey through the twenty-two mysteries Major Arcana and allows the player to reach the final destination point or card twenty-two, the World Dancer. The Fool and the Dancer are polar opposites, as the Fool is at the base and beginning, the undeveloped ego that is there to mirror and guide others. He is the outer whereas the World is the fully developed ego and inner wisdom that reflects a universal wisdom.
Much like Lear and the Fool are polarities, the Dancer and the Fool archetype oppose yet need one another for completion in the journey through the deck. Filannino 6 His traveling and constant observation of humanity gives The Fool a broader outlook and insight. Fool instructs the Pope Lear The Emperor and stands by him as he goes mad the Moonwatches him fall from grace the Towergoes with him on his hermitage the Hermit and process of letting go Death and the Hanged Man until he heeds the call to succumb to his change Judgment.
That is when the Fool is able to exit and be with the World Dancer, a card of completion, because he completed his task of guiding Lear on his self-discovery. The rest of the journey is up to Lear. The Fool is both a student and teacher of humanity, floats through life observing and speaking the truth about the misdeeds, misnomers, vices and the proper virtues needed as a cure- all.
A Book of Tarot: Interestingly, the Fool archetype appears more in mythology than in structured religion … Mythology leads directly into the heart of those fears, and in every culture the mythological landscape contains the image of the Trickster—pushing, goading, jabbing the kings and heroes whenever they turn away from the inner world of truth … The fool archetype has even found social expression, as the real court jester.
In the Tarot deck, the Fool is numerically a zero because he is a nowhere man and the original anarchist. Rather, he guides Lear and then enigmatically disappears from the stage. The Fool is the Everyman or Renaissance man, synthesizing all mysteries of life.
For instance, below he puts on the High Priest mask and teaches Lear a crucial lesson, chastises him for his faults. This is the beginning of their journey together, as the Fool just entered the play at line ninety-six. Nothing can be made out of Filannino 8 nothing. He will not believe a Fool. Dost know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and sweet one?
No, lad, teach me. That lord that counseled thee To give away thy land, Come place him here by me; Do thou for him stand. The sweet and bitter fool Will presently appear: The one in motley here, The other found out there. All thy other titles thou hast given away. That thou hast given away. That Filannino 9 thou wast born with. Not a typical and idiotic fool. Lear has become numerically equal to the Fool and may begin his journey of initiation.
Lear, like a child, is on his way to death and is being led by his two closest and only remaining servants, the Fool and Kent. Fool books were in and out of vogue between the 16th and 17th century, as H.
Relationship Between King Lear and His Fool - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
The artistic fool is playing a role and trained in the arts, speaks in riddles and poetry. Shakespeare and Armin may have worked together to create this image of a witty and bitter royal fool. Regardless, there remained a clear polarity between the idiot and the wise Fool.
Hornback also confirms and extends upon this theory: In conclusion, the words to express this prototype are innumerable: Depending on tradition, role, and genre, this character can be no more than comedic release or it can be the cornerstone of the court and play. The moment Fool shows up on stage is directly after Lear has stirred the pot and turned the heat up to full boil.
He has banned Kent and Cordelia and given away his identity, property, and kingdom. His daughters are about to fail him with their feigned love. Fool shows up now, at his time of need, when he has given up everything and is about to be abandoned and will be fully stripped.
Analysis of Shakespeare's King Lear: The King's Foolishness and His Fool's Wisdom
He and Lear have a close bond and he is like a spiritual advisor to the King. Lear is foolish to his surroundings just as he is foolish to his inner world. This is how he becomes equal to the Fool, who is the lowest class citizen. He forfeits his title, gives up his rights and identity and becomes a nothing.
Fool comes in the play at this scene, just as Kent also forfeits his natural identity and must be disguised until Lear dies. As the Fool says to Lear: Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning. No thou art an O without a figure. I am better than thou art now. I am a Fool. When he finally does, he responds with rage, rather than intelligence. Filannino 13 Together they bond in their absolute disintegration and disconnection from the kingdom.
Lear is being stripped away slowly. This polarization of the ultimate sovereign with the filthy poor expresses the inversion of the normal world and absurdity of the system.
Fast forward to the last scene that Fool is in: He is only thinking of his own lustful nature and what the women could provide for him financially; therefore, he misses out on wonderful parts of life that could be enjoyed. Foolish Honesty Cordelia, on the other hand, recognizes that life has more to offer than financial gain. Her response is not foolish at all. Instead, she explains her lack of flattery by saying, Why have my sisters husbands if they say They love you all?
Haply when I shall wed, That Lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry Half my love with him, half my care and duty. She points out that if her sisters truly love their father in the way they claim, they would not have enough love to share with their husbands.
Due to the king's foolishness, he believes her sisters' great claims of love and feels Cordelia's love pales in comparison. Despite the risk of losing her inheritance, Cordelia values honesty and risks revealing her appropriate level of love for her father. Just as Goneril and Regan gain their land and kingdoms through their dishonesty, Cordelia gains her goal of love and respect through her truthfulness.
The King of France looks beyond her loss of rank as he states, Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich being poor, Most choice forsaken and most loved despised, Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon. Be it lawful I take up what's cast away. This beautiful proposal contains paradoxes that seem to be foolish at first. For instance, how can one become rich by being poor? What he means is that because of her willingness to be honest and to risk losing all her wealth, she shows that she is rich in "virtues" that are irreplaceable, such as integrity and love.
Not all "foolish honesty" is as good as it is in the case of Cordelia.
Kent speaks honest words foolishly while the king is angry and sternly rebuking a man who is of a higher authority. When majesty falls to folly. Reserve thy state, And in thy best consideration check This hideous rashness.
Answer my life my judgment, Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least, Nor are those empty-headed whose love sounds Reverb no hollowness.
Kent's honesty could have resulted in death due to his harsh words to a king. Examples of his harsh words are when he states, "When majesty falls to folly" and refers to his actions as "hideous rashness. Although he did finally get Lear to listen to him, it was only when he became dishonest by pretending to be someone else.
While his speech is truthful, his timing and manner are unwise. Because Kent chooses to speak harshly while the king is angry, he does not bring about a change in Lear's perception. Instead, Kent is banished. He chooses to banish two of the few people who remain loyal to him. His daughter even was willing to risk her life because of her love for her father. It is not until Lear has lost everything, including his sanity, that he realizes his foolishness in sending them away.
This foolish act is obvious to all. Goneril even recognizes it when she says, "He always loved our sister most and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off appears too grossly. She realizes that if he is willing to do this to his favored daughter, he may be willing to do worse to her.
The hundred knights Lear insists on could easily start a palace revolution in such a society, so the hundred knights will have to go. In this, the two women act wisely, even if their intent is void of scruples. Goneril again shows great insight when she exclaims, Idle old man, That still would manage those authorities That he hath given away.
Now, by my life, Old fools are babes again She not only recognizes that he loves Cordelia most, but that banishing her is very "poor judgment. He not only transfers his "authorities" before it is necessary, but does so in order to be able to act as a young child again. She makes this clear by comparing "old fools" to "babes. If he had chosen to listen to those, like Kent, who spoke with wisdom, he would have avoided the catastrophes that followed.
Shakespeare shows how when a person chooses to live a life of irresponsibility, there are consequences. The more responsibility that is given up, the bigger the consequences are. Michelle Lee, another Shakespearean critic, remarks that by giving up his power, Lear loses the ability to fight against his thankless daughters. Wisdom does not denote social class, as in the case of the king and the fool.
Those who should be wise may not always have the right answers, whereas people who are thought of as foolish may be astute. True wisdom can only be found in those who are honest and have integrity.
Dishonest people confuse what is wise and what is foolish, as in the example of Cordelia. Many may view her as being unwise because of the way she spoke with her father when he asked her how much she loves him. Although she loses her share in the dowry, she receives what she wants, which is love from her husband.
In the end, she also regains the love of her father.
Her reward for her honesty is greater than all the land both her sisters inherit, because Cordelia gains love. Bibliography "fool1noun" The Oxford Dictionary of English revised edition.
Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, Grand Valley State University. Yale University Press, Thomas Gale, Literary and Theological Reflections on Faith and Reason,