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King Lear

William Shakespeare

Character Analysis Fool

The Fool assumes the role of Lear's protector when Cordelia is banished. The Fool functions much as a Chorus would in a Greek tragedy, commenting upon events and the king's actions and acting, in some ways, as the king's conscience. The Fool is the king's advocate, loyal and honest, but he is also able to point out the king's faults, as no one else can. The Fool's use of irony, sarcasm, and humor help to ease the truth, and allows him to moderate Lear's behavior. The Fool shares his master's fate, and this reinforces the impression that the Fool's purpose is to protect Lear until Cordelia can arrive to help her father. Both Cordelia and the Fool are caretakers for Lear, and when one is present, the other need not be.