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Professional Fools by William Shakespeare - English Literature Essay

3 pages
657 words
Boston College
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The piece titled King Lear by William Shakespeare is a play that has King Lear as the protagonist. The scene of the game opens in the palace of the king with a conversation between Kent, Gloucester and his son. It is revealed to the audience that Gloucester has two sons one who is legitimate and another who is illegitimate although he loves them equally (Urkowitz, p.87). The king, on the other hand, is contemplating on dividing his wealth among his three daughters Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. The king enters to a fanfare of trumpets, and during the event, he announces that he wants to divide his kingdom among his three daughters based on their declaration of love for him (Urkowitz, p.90). Goneril and Regan flatter him with praises, but his younger daughter Cordelia declares her genuine desire to her father without flattery. The king is angered and banishes Cordelia.

It is after Cordelia is banished that the fool assumes the role a protector to the king. The fool plays the role of a commentator and is compared to a Greek chorus in tragedy. In all the events and functions of the king, he makes comments for entertaining guests and to make the event lively (Mack, p.212). Besides, he is the king's trustee and advocates who is honest and loyal to the king. The fool is also the only person who is entitled to pointing out the king's mistakes a role that no one else can play. In his allegiance role to the king, he uses sarcasm, irony, and humor to ease the reality in the king's mistakes. It is evident that he is the king's protector until Cordelia comes back to take care of his father (Mack, p.214). He serves as a substitute to Cordelia and whenever she is not around he protects them in on her behalf. About other characters, he plays the role of elevating the part of the protagonists.

On the other hand, the play in the twelfth night William Shakespeare presents the kingdom of Illyria where the game starts a nobleman is listening to music as he thinks of Lady Olivia. He thinks of marrying, but he cannot see her because she is in mourning period after the death of her brother (Shakespeare, p.345). In another scene, a storm has struck the coast and caused a shipwreck and in it was a lady who was swept to the shore where she finds herself alone in the Illyrian shore. She is noble born women, and Illyria to her is a strange land. He believes that her brother had drowned and she looks for work to do and a friendly captain gives her advice to go Olivia who is in courtship with Orsino. But because Olivia cannot talk to anyone she refrains from going to her ask for work (Shakespeare, p.347). Instead, she disguises herself as a man named Cesario and gets work at Duke Orsinos. Orsino loves her an, on the other hand, she falls in love with the Duke. When Olivia sees her, she is attracted to him.

Feste is a fool of Olivias home, and he moves between the houses of Olivia and Orsino. He is a professional fool who earns a living out of the jokes he makes (Findlay, p.112). Besides, he sings old songs to entertain people in functions and events. He offers advice to Orsino and Olivia though hidden in-jokes. He makes situations that seem to bring to tension to be at ease (Findlay, p.114). The role of the profession fool is to create a sense of human and supporting the protagonist in the play. For instance, Feste supports Orsino and Olivia.


Works Cited

Urkowitz, Steven. Shakespeare's Revision of KING LEAR. Princeton University Press, 2014.

Mack, Maynard. King Lear in our time. Routledge, 2013.

Shakespeare, William. Twelfth night: Or, what you will. Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Findlay, Alison, and Liz Oakley-Brown. Twelfth night: a critical reader. A&C Black, 2013.


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