Lear is used to enjoying absolute power and to being flattered, and he does not respond well to being contradicted or challenged. At the beginning of the play, his values are notably hollow—he prioritizes the appearance of love over actual devotion and wishes to maintain the power of a king while unburdening himself of the responsibility. Nevertheless, he inspires loyalty in subjects such as Gloucester, Kent, Cordelia, and Edgar, all of whom risk their lives for him.
Shakespeare wants to portray how sometimes what appears to be a foolish idea when it comes to money is often the wisest decision of all. Although her decision may appear to be foolish on the surface, she proves herself to have made the wisest decision by remaining true to herself.
King Lear also finds that the line between foolishness and wisdom may not always be clear.
Shakespeare chooses to express the ongoing theme of fools having wisdom and wise choices appearing foolish through a reversal in the hierarchy of Fool and King, the use of "moral fool[ishness]," and the ignorant decisions of Lear.
The fool assists Lear in gaining wisdom and humility. He is the only person from whom the king accepts blatant honesty and criticism from. Therefore, through the use of humor, the fool is able to discuss serious subjects without the king feeling defensive.
He does so when he says, "All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with. It is not until Lear has become completely mad that he begins to make wise choices.
Lear needed this reversal in roles in order to develop as a character. The fool is very aware of this reversal in hierarchy, as he makes clear many times throughout the play. By giving away his kingdom, the king has made himself obsolete and without a role in society.
Again, the fool deliberately refers to the reversal in hierarchy when he says, "There, take my coxcomb. 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.
By stating that "the fool" is "no knave" and the "knave turns fool" shows that he is very aware of the reversal. The words knave and fool often are used to describe the same type of person, although they are not synonyms. If he were a servant that was only there for the material gain, he would have abandoned Lear when things became difficult.
The fool is doing what he believes is right. He recognizes that he is one of the few sources of wisdom that the king listens to; therefore, he declares that he will remain faithful to the king when he says, "but I will tarry, the fool will stay. This does not indicate that wisdom has left Lear.
In fact, it means quite the opposite. Even though King Lear is becoming more and more insane, he begins proving his wisdom.
For instance, when he reunites with Cordelia, he states, "I am a very foolish fond old man. He now sees Goneril and Regan for the cruel individuals they are. Goneril views Albany as a fool because he places his morals before his goals. She feels that one should do whatever they can in order to get a desired outcome.
Morals Used Foolishly The idea that morals can be used foolishly is present throughout the play. In his eyes, honesty is seen as a weakness rather than an asset.
Therefore, it is "foolish" to be honest. Edmund feels the only way to get what you want is through deceit. From a worldly perspective, honesty seems foolish to a person who is selfishly motivated by money and power, which are merely worldly effects.
On the other hand, from a religious or moralist perspective, it is seen differently. Kim Pathenroth, a religious essayist, said it best when she states: Not only does he make this clear when he plots against his brother and father, but also after he has won the affection of both Goneril and Regan.The Earl of Kent plays a small but important part in Shakespeare's play King Lear.
From the beginning scenes to the end we see a minor character that is used to show the values that Shakespeare believed in. Whether Kent is an example of the dutiful servant or plays the intermediary between Lear. - Madness in William Shakespeare's King Lear In his play, King Lear, Shakespeare introduces many themes.
The most important theme is that of madness, which is portrayed, during the course of this play, by the tragic hero, King Lear.
by William Shakespeare “King Lear” is a shattering play.
Readers, audiences, actors - even scholars - so King Lear. One of the most important changes he made was to reinforce the story of Lear Edmund resolves to tell Cornwall. Lear, the fool, and Kent arrive at .
The Importance of the Earl of Kent in King Lear The Earl of Kent plays a small but important part in Shakespeare's play King Lear.
From the beginning scenes to the end we see a minor character that is used to show the values that Shakespeare believed in. A summary of Act 3, scenes 1–3 in William Shakespeare's King Lear. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of King Lear and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. The Role Of The Fool In King Lear English Literature Essay. Print Reference this. Published: 23rd March, In William Shakespeare's King Lear the fool plays many important roles. When Cordelia, Lear's only well-intentioned daughter, is banished from the kingdom Fool immediately assumes her role as Lear's protector.