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Word Count: 1,122
Fools and Kings Shakespeares dynamic use of irony in King Lear aids the microcosmic illustration of not only 16th century Britain but of all times and places The theme that best develops this illustration is the discussion of fools and their foolishness This discussion allows Shakespeare not only to portray human nature but also to illicit a sort of Socratic introspection into the nature of societys own ignorance as well One type of fool that Shakespeare involves in King Lear is the immoral fool Edmund for instance may be seen as a fool in the sense that he is morally weak His foolishness lies in the fact that he has no sense of right or justice which rewards him with an untimely ironic death He discusses this as his father Gloucester leaves to ponder the plotting of his son Edgar Edmund soliloquizes This is the excellent foppery of the world that when we are sick in fortune we make guilty of our disasters the sun the moon and stars as if we were villains on necessity fools by heavenly compulsion I ii 32 for the sole purpose of illustrating his wickedness Edmund realizes that his evil is self-taught This soliloquy shows the audience Edgars foolishness in his belief that malevolence is the force that drives one to greatness or prosperity It also illustrates the bastards mistaken belief that by fooling his father he might be able to eliminate Edgar the competition for Gloucesters title and possibly rid himself of his father in the same act This is a prime example of immoral foolishness in King Lear Another type of fool in King Lear is the ignorant fool Whereas characters such as Goneril Regan and Edmund are fools because of their tendency to harm others for self-gain the ignorant foolish are not necessarily driven to evil However the
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