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Word Count: 627
Minor characters often add another dimension to a story as a contrast to the main character Though the Fool only appears in select scenes he plays three major roles in Shakespeares King Lear First he serves as Lears conscience providing sane reasoning and wisdom at much needed times The Fool also delivers comic relief Finally he is one of the few people willing to stand up to the king In Act III the Fool disappears because he is no longer needed to perform these functions During his appearances the Fool personifies the conscience of Lear He is not simply an opposing viewpoint but rather a manifestation of Lears own self-doubt in his actions He appears for the first time in Act I Scene IV after Cordelia has moved away with the King of France The Fool tries to show Lear the voice of reason most notably with his attempt to persuade Lear that it was wrong to banish Cordelia and give all his land away to the deceitful Goneril and Regan He issues Lear a warning about his attitude Truths a dog must to kennel He must be whipped out when the Lady Brach may stand by the fire and stink This metaphor means that Lear would rather be appeased than to face the truth Deep down Lear knows the truth and cannot ignore his conscience The Fool disappears in Act III when Lear goes crazy Insanity marks the end of his capability for rational thinking so the Fool has no further role in the play With his honesty and clever wordplay that interweave foreshadowing and practical advice the Fool entertains not only the King but the audience as well bringing comic relief into this tragedy The Fool uses poetry and song to communicate with Lear His smug attitude makes his name seem ironic as he obviously has a great deal more wisdom than the myopic king The Fools major appearances relieves the
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