King Lear

.. ith- out a figure. I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing.” (I, IV, 188.) -The Fool knows that Lear is changed now because he is worried that Goneril is frowning. -Lear should not have to worry about Goneril frowning because he his her father, but the fact that he gave her half of his land and worth, he is nothing. -The Fool thinks that Lear used to be respectable but now has become pathetic he has become an “O without a figure”.

He has lost his identity, his self-respect, and his kingship. 9. “For you know nuncle, “The hedge sparrow fed the cuckoo so long That it had its head bit off by its young.” So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.” (I, IV, 212.) -The Fool is using an illustration to show Lear the error of his ways. Lear, just like the sparrow gave his daughters too much of what he had too soon, and now will bear the consequences. -Lear’s head, or identity, will be bitten off by his daughters as a result of his lack of wisdom. 10. “May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee.” (I, IV, 221.) -The Fool is making a sort of sarcastic joke pertaining to the fact that now Lear’s daughters are in control of Lear, and he does not even know it.

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-This is due to Lear’s foolish nature. -This is also a consequence to Lear’s unwise action of splitting up his kingdom before his time is up. 11. “Lear’s shadow.” (I, IV, 228.) -The Fool is sarcastically remarking that what he sees is not the grand King who Lear once was, but a mere shadow of that man. -When one refers to a shadow of a man, it usually means what is left of a man after much of his good attributes were taken away, either by himself or by some other person/force, in Lear’s case, the Fool is referring to what is left of Lear after he had given up all his self worth including his kingship, power, money, and land.

12. “Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear! Tarry, take the Fool with thee. A fox when one has caught her, And such a daughter Should sure to the slaughter. If my cap would buy a halter. So the Fool follows after.” (I, IV, 314.) -The Fool is speaking of the evil in Goneril, and how a person of this character would soon be punished. -The Fool being wise chooses to follow Lear rather than Goneril because he knows that Goneril’s selfish actions will catch up to her in the future.

13. “Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly, for though she’s as like this as a crab’s like an apple, yet I can tell what I can tell.” (I, V, 14.) -The Fool is much more wise than Lear, so he already knows how Regan would act even before they see her. -He knows that although Regan is not exactly like Goneril, she will treat Lear just as bad as her. 14. “Why, to put ‘s head in, not to give it away to his daughters and leave his horns without a case.” (I, V, 30.) -This is the Fool’s explanation to Lear of why a snail has a shell. -Although he is clearly talking about a snail, he is symbolically talking about Lear as well.

-The Fool is stating the obvious, that Lear is a fool for giving away his only source of protection, his shell (kingdom) to his daughters. -The Fool is revealing the utter stupidity Lear carries for giving away such a necessary thing such as his kingship to his daughters, at the wrong time, while he is still living. It would be as foolish as a snail giving up its shell while it’s alive, it would obviously die without the protection it had relied on its entire life. 15. “Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.” (I, V, 43.) -The Fool pointing out the fact that Lear, in accordance to his age should be very wise by now.

-Because Lear is not as wise as his age should tell, the Fool is merely stating that for his own good, he should’ve been wise before he had decided to pass on his inheritance to his daughters. -The Fool presents this as a sort of solution to Lear’s problems, al though a solution to a problem unsolvable now. If Lear had been wiser and less hasty with his decision, he would not be in such a horrible disposition. 16. “She that’s a maid now, and laughs at my departure, Shall not be a maid long, unless things be cut shorter.” (I, V, 50.) -The Fool speaks of Lear’s daughter.

-The fact that the Fool is so wise is a great source of irony carried throughout the play. He already foreshadows the fact that Lear’s evil daughters (Goneril and Regan) disrespectful behavior, and cruel treatment of their father will not go unpunished, and their youth will be taken away soon. 17. “Winter’s not gone yet if the wild geese fly that way. Father’s that wear rags Do make their children blind, But fathers that bear bags Shall see their children kind. Fortune, that arrant whore, Ne’er turns the key to the poor. But, for all this, thou shalt have as many dolors for thy Daughters as thou canst tell in a year.” (II, IV, 45.) -The Fool knows that because Goneril and Regan allow their father to be in such a peasant-like state they will suffer greatly.

-If Lear had stored up his inheritance for his children, then his daughters would’ve not been as selfish and in turn would treat him kind. 18. “That sir which serves and seeks for gain, And follows but for form, Will pack when it begins to rain And leave thee in the storm. But I will tarry; the fool will stay, And let the wise man fly. The knave turns fool that runs away; The fool no knave, pardie. ” (II, IV, 76.) -This is the Fool’s insight into the situation Lear is in.

-He knows that certain followers of Lear are not true, and when the situation gets tough, they will leave, but the Fool is true to the King. 19. “This is a brave night to cool a courtesan. I’ll speak a prophecy ere I go: When priests are more in word than matter; When brewers mar their malt with water; When nobles are their tailors’ tutors, No heretics burned but wenches’ suitors’ Then shall the realm of Albion Come to great confusion. When every case in law is right, No squire in debt, nor no poor knight; When slanders do not live in tongues, Nor cutpurses come not to throngs; When usurers tell their gold I’ the field, And bawds and shores do churches build, Then comes the time, who lives to see ‘t, That going shall be used with feet.

This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his Time.” (III, II, 79.) -The Fool’s allusions to great ironies in life reflects his opinion of Lear’s choice to split his kingship up among Goneril and Regan. -He is showing us the wrongfulness of Lear’s decision, and how it defies against all rules of nature. -All the things that are meant to be are not, which for Lear is going to cause him suffering. -He should’ve waited to die and then pass on his kingdom to his daughters, and he did not, he should’ve given Cordelia most of his kingdom and he gave her none. 20.

“And I’ll go to bed at noon.” (III, VI, 85.) -This is a response to Lear’s ironic statement: “We’ll go to supper I’ the morning.” (III, VI, 83.) -The Fool is obviously responding to Lear’s foolish statement by paralleling it with a statement just as senseless. -This is the last line the Fool has in the play, in a sense his sleep to symbolize a “death” of his character in the play. Shakespeare Essays.