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RE-EDUCATING A KING KING LEARS SELF-AWARENESSHalfway downHangs one that gathers samphire dreadful tradeMethinks he seems no bigger than his headThe fisherman that walk along the beach Appear like miceAlthough this quote from Shakespeares King Lear is made by Poor Tomto his unknowing father Gloucester about the terrain far below them itaccurately summarizes the plight of the mad king Lear is out of touch withhis surroundings riding high upon the wave of power associated with themonarchy even those closest to him are out of reach viewed with a distortedlens It is through this lens of madness that Lear views his friends andfamily and thus he is stripped of everything before he can realize the follyof his judgment Reduced to a simple man Lear is forced to learn the lessonsthat Gods anointed is already supposed to know This is the purposeof the secondary characters of King Lear they serve to show the many complexfacets of Lears complex personality as they force him to finally getin touch with his self-consciousFor example the Fool oddly enough acts as the voice of reason for theout-of -touch King He views events critically and thus seems to foreshadowsituations that an ignorant Lear is completely oblivious to This is evidentin act 1 scene 1 when a prodding Fool asks the king if he knows the differencebetween a bitter fool and a sweet fool When Lear admits that he does notthe Fool attempts to lay it all out in front of himThat lord which councelled theeTo give away thy landCome place him here by meDo thou for him standThe sweet and bitter fool Will presently appearThe one in motley hereThe other found out thereThe Fool attempts to show the king the folly of his ways He is essentiallycalling Lear a bitter fool insinuating that his foolishness will be thecause of such bitterness This comment is taken lightly but only becausethe Fool is a satire of the king himself and thus is the only one
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