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Word Count: 869
Fools in traditional royal households were seen as imbecils and jesters nothing more The older role of a royal fool which Shakespeare adopted from the pagan setting of King Lear was to correct minor faults and incongruencies in their masters By detatching the Fool from a conventional fools role Shakespeare allows for the crowds suspention of disbelief in the Fools ability to get away with the comments he makes to the King In the opening scenes King Lear fails to arrouse pity from the audience despite the fact that he is the tragic hero Enter the Fool in Act I scene iv The Fools original and supposed role is that of an entertainer Soon vernturing from this role he provides the dramatic irony nessasary to close the gap between Lears understandings and the audiences The explicit and underlying roles of the Fool allow this juncture to occur The Fool is used as the deciminator of ultimate truth to Lear a representation of the goodness in Lear and a manifestation of Cordilia in her absence A gift of words is the Fools only power He speaks bitter truths to Lear in hopes that Lear will realize his folly The Fools commentary throughout the play is sad because he knows his statements are ineffective The Fool attends to the King out of love and loyalty to him Nuncle Lear nuncle Lear tarry Take the Fool with thee Iiv322 His concern is shown again when the Fool and Lear are exposed in the storm Good nuncle in and ask thy daughters blessing III ii 11-13 The Fool is laughed at not because he is foolish but because he speaks the truth Lear is told he is a fool for not knowing the nature of his own daughters Everyone laughs but it is the truth The Fool plays the role of the provider of painful truth a friend who tells the truth but is ignored He
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