Thursday, 8 October 2015

Fool Part 2

Cba to put them all together...

Foolishness and Folly

See notes on Desiderus Erasmus 

Critic Epsom claims Shakespeare derived his use of 'fool' from Erasmus's "In Praise of Folly", a satirical text in praise of madness and folly but developed it further

WS creates a cynical world where fools are present but the fool in King Lear is much more complex. 
There are ironic aversions of folly and wisdom that cast darker shadows. 

The fool's perception of the true horror of the situation prompts his goading of his master from the outset

"Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise"

"Why, to put's head in, not to give it away to his daughters and leave his horns without a case."

"Dost thou call me fool, boy? / All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with" 

"...they will not let me have all the fool to myself, they'll be snatching" 

"Now thou art an O, without a figure; I am better than thou art now. I am a fool, thou art nothing." 

But as Erasmus writes: "Kings dislike the truth. But fools can speak the truth and even insults and be heard with positive please: indeed the words that would cause a wise man his life are surprisingly enjoyable  when uttered by a clown."  

As Goneril says: "Not only, sir, this your all-licensed fool" 


Sottie or Sotie was a type of comedy popular in Europe from the end of the 15th century to the 17th taking the form of a short, satirical play

Linked by genre to the morality plays in the late Middle Ages

Its theme is the universal sway of Mother Folly and by the end of the play, all characters are reduced to the 'man in the cap and bells'


In the plays, these fools would make observations and exchange thoughts on contemporary events and individuals. Shorter plays, sometimes referred to as parades, need not have any plot at all, but relied simply on a detached dialogue.

The purpose of these events was to present a world turned upside-down, in this case with the fools as fonts of wisdom.The fools were dressed in grey robes, and wore a hood with donkey ears

Enid Welsford relates the central scenes in Act 3 and 3 to the culminating moments of the sottie 

Symbolism of the fool 

The fool is the spirit in search of experience. He represents a mystical cleverness, independent of reason and a childlike ability to tune into the inner workings of the world. 

He is always un-numbered or zero in the tarot pack, operating independently and often having the ability to trump others. 

When the Fool appears in a spread, it is asking you to strip down to the core of yourself and questioning whether your self vision is obscured


This is seen in Lear as through the Fool's riddles he is able to show the error of his ways. 

"But I can tell why a snail has a house. Why? Why, to put ’s head in, not to give it away to his daughters and leave his horns without a case."

It can also be a warning that significant change is coming, or that you need to confront fears or face the unknown 

No comments:

Post a Comment