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Word Count: 432
What is the dramatic significance of the Fool A bitter Fool 1iv The Fool plays a significant part in Lear Introduced in Act 1 Scene 4 he is privy to the innermost feelings of his king He is placed in a position where he can watch the going on at court he serves as a sounding board for Lear He also observes the outcomes of Lears rash judgements and comments upon them throughout the play In Act 1 Scene 4 the Fool castigates Lear for giving away his kingly authority Suggesting that because Lear no longer has a crown then perhaps Lear should don the coxcomb or fools cap Ild keep my coxcombs myself Theres mine beg another of thy daughters 1iv111 Lear has great affection for the Fool and the Fool is extremely loyal to Lear this is exemplified in their mutual use of such pet names as nuncle boy and llad Why my boy 1iv109 Lears response to the Fool is complex veering between kindly indulgence and threats to have him whipped Take heed sirrah the whip 1iv113 As a character the Fool shows some depth in his pining for Cordelia Since my young ladys gone to into France sir the Fool hath much pined away 1iv 73-74 Nonetheless it is as a function rather than a character that the Fool is important His basic role is that of chorus commenting on the action and adding point to our perceptions In this context he joins Cordelia and Kent as a third voice of commonsense and sanity in the wake of Lears eccentricity In Act 1 he uses verbal wit and prattling telling Lear he is foolish to give everything away and putting his daughters in authority over him Many of his cutting speeches are to alert Lear to his daughters true characters The Fools light-heartedness also lets us appreciate him as a
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