The Fool, Act 1, Scene 4

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  • The Fool, Act 1, Scene 4
    • AO1
      • Both his presence and absence are significant as they reflect Lear's progressive insanity
        • Fool appears after Lear has done the damage of dividing Kingdom
          • Perhaps he's a figment of his imagination, the result of Lear's fragmented state of mind
        • Lear's personality is fragmented
          • Lear is the id, he operates on a pleasure basis
            • impulsive and responds to instincts
            • id demands immediate satisfaction and if denied this then tends to experience pain
            • Operates on the pleasure principle
          • The fool is the ego, he operates with the external world
            • Ego operates on the reality principle
          • Kent could be the super ego
            • incorporates the values and morals of society
            • his function is to control the id's impulses which society forbids
      • function of the fool includes chorus, humor and reflection of personality
    • AO2
      • "thou hast pared thy wit o'both sides, and left nothing i'the'middle"
        • very wise
          • the semantics of this leave little ambiguity
            • he criticizes Lear's choice
        • maybe shows how he is the half of the brain that Lear has given up
      • Lots of physiological references
        • mainly to the head
          • questions Lear's sanity
      • makes Lear repeat nothing comes of nothing
        • "Can you make no use of nothing, Nuncle?"
          • pause makes it more moking
            • use of "Nuncle"
              • shows how they have got a close knit relationship enough for the fool to mock Lear
              • But Shakespeare may be using it to show their proximity, like nuncle like fool
          • Nothing as a theme, the fool foreshadows what Lear will have
            • His first scene and he shows his wisdom and importance
      • Fool speaks in prose not in verse, this may show how down to earth the fool is
        • the fool isn't as fancy
          • may show class
            • below the king despite demonstrating how he is above the king in knowledge
      • act 1, scene 4 also shows the fool as a choral function by providing commentary on the action and events that occurring
        • "if i gave them all my living, I'd keep my coxcomb myself"
    • AO3
      • "The improbabilities of Lear surely surpass those of any other tragedy in both number and grossness"
        • A.C Bradley
      • "'Lear's intellectual error of anger receives the conventional punishment of madness"
        • W.R Elton
      • "For Lear belief is sanity and its loss in insanity"
        • W.R Elton
      • "[King Lear} is a heap of jewels unpolished and unstrung"
        • Nahum Tate
      • "Lear is choleric, overbearing and almost childish from age"
        • Shlegel

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