This list of Frequently Asked Questions is derived
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Here it is:
What happens to the fool in the latter half
of the play? Where does he go?
Are Cordelia and the fool the same
How should an actor play the role of Kent?
Is King Lear Insane?
What do the storm scenes
reveal about Shakespeare's intentions in the creation of Lear's
character and how is the Fool important to this?
What makes King Lear a tragedy?
Why does King Lear take off his clothes
in Act 3?
What happens to the fool in the latter half of the play? Where
does he go?
Huh writes: "I think the fool does not return
because during Shakespeare's time, people played a dual part. And
if I remember
correctly, the person playing the fool played another part that
was included in much of the final parts of the play. The fool
and this other character (Cordelia, I think) never were on stage
the same time."
Mickey writes: "It has been argued that the
fool is killed
My Poor Fool is hanged" Lear V,iii."
Marshall writes: "The fool leaves the play
as soon as he is not needed anymore. What I mean about this is that
sprt of Lear's Conscience througout the play, He was his eyes
and his way to truth. Once lear realized what he had done wrong the
fool was no longer needed to guide him.
And comment of the quote "and my poor fool is hanged" It
is not referring to his fool. Fool is a term of endearment in
reflecting on the death of Cordelia. Cordelia of course was just hung
in that scene"
pureblonde writes: "i think the fool goes because
he is symbolic in the first act to make comments on Lear's increasing
and to help him come to grips with what is happening to him.
His part is ironic because the 'fool' is actually the wisest one.
after Act 3, the fool isn't needed anymore because Lear now realizes
his mistakes and misjudgement."
Are Cordelia and the fool the same character?
A. Collins writes: "The Fool is not Cordelia in disguise
- that wouldn't work. She's in France. However they are never in
the play at the same time because the Fool is Lear's voice of reason
once Cordelia has gone. In Shakespearian times the actor who played
Cordelia would also have played the Fool - probably. The fact that
the Fool speaks wisdom when he appears to be speaking nonsense
is hugely ironic. He is a wise character, but anyone else who tries
to tell Lear he's an idiot does not get away with it (namely Kent
:) ). Lear likes the Fool to entertain him - he pretends not to
notice he's being called a fool himself. Apparently it was a technique
Shakespeare used - having fools and jesters speak wisdom. As for
the line "My poor fool is hanged", some people are
absolutely rigid in their belief that Lear refers to Cordelia
and only her.
However is it not possible that the Fool may also have been hanged
for treason? Anyone who helps Lear is committing reason - let's
not forget poor old Gloucester."
jenny writes: "one of the concerns of king
lear is the issue of wisdom and folly. the fool serves as a contrast.
the king, when
he is in his right senses, or 'wisdom', he is a fool, ie dividing
up his kingdom, and giving away all his power. the fool, in his
maddness, is shown to have a type of 'wisdom', and lear's wisdom
is found after he reverts to maddness in the storm scene, and
influenced by another fool, Edgar, or tom o' bedlam. the Fool dramitises
of the play's main concerns - the nature of true folly, and therefore
the nature of true wisdom. he still has completely irrelevant,
crude and sometimes even incoherent lines like the fools of the
miracle plays, but the fool's function in lear is different -
not to just give the audience a few laughs, but also to teach lear
(and consequently, the audience). as for the fool being cordelia
in disguise, the original text does not suggest this (a knight
says in Act I, 'Since my young lady's going into France,sir,
fool hath much pined away' suggesting the fool and cordelia's
relationship), but it has happened in many recent productions, with
the same actor
playing Cordelia and the Fool. it often happens because both
characters are used as tools to teach Lear the nature of his folly.
it was believed that in Shakesepeare's time, the same popular
boy actor was used for both roles, and the fool's last line 'and
go to bed at noon' was his apology to the audience for having
to leave the stage and go back to his role as cordelia."
Mike writes: "The Cordelia/ Fool debate, I
believe, stems from Lear's ambiguous line towards the play's end
'alas my poor
fool is hanged'. Some people, many of whom should know better,
believe this to be a reference to the Fool- it empahtically
is not! Fool is a term of endearment (much like darling) and the
of Lear's speech prove the line to be delivered to Cordelia.
The Fool is not hanged but, I would argue, dies of hypothermia- there
are numerous references to him lagging behind during the storm.
He physically cannot handle the storm.
However, he dies in part due to mental weariness- Lear has
learnt nothing (!) from him...In a sense his all knowing impotence
and subsequent death
make him one of the most, I believe the most, tragic figure of the
olou writes: "many people lean both ways on
this matter. back in the day men (or boys) played women's roles,
the fool was
a young man, so it is quite possible that the boy who played
the fool also played cordelia.
people who believe this is the case sight the fact that cordelia
and the fool never appear on stage at the same time (explicitiely).
that the fool isn't said to be on stage in act one scene one when cordelia
is pissing her dad off. and also the fool just "disapears" for
no said reason right before cordelia's return to the play. this is
(i believe) act three i don't know what scene.
further arguments for the coexhistance is in the fact that both the
fool and cordelia are "good guys", they are among the small group
who are good natured and look to help lear out. it wouldn't make too
much sense to have a villian and a good guy portrayed by the same actor,
but because they both would be in the same mindset (both wanting to help
lear) there would be less of a change in the actor's "inspiration" or
naysayers don't have much to go by...except that the fool KNOWS what
happens in act 1 scene 1 of the play in scene 2. how could this be if
he wasn't around in act 1? i'm sure there are more arguments against,
but i can't recall off top of my head (and i am almost late for class).
in closing, who cares? they ARE different characters in the play, they
don't meet or interact at all, buy neither do Edgar and cordellia...who
are also both for lear. this is just a small quirk, and with so many
other interisting sub-plots and inuendos etc, this is a very minor
thing for a paper to be on. "
How should an actor play the role of Kent?
Alexander Mulligan writes: "I played Kent a number of years
ago in a strange production. I came to think of him as a very earnest,
bumbling man, desperate to please those he loved. There's a craving
for attention in Lear, and he's very lonely. Another man without
a wife, adoring of Cordelia and Lear, ready to die for both. When
he loses his job and his status he's very vulnerable, and clings
to Lear in disguise. Deeply insecure. Respect for others turns
into worship. He's so self effacing, despite that bluntness. He
cannot ask for credit and goes to the bitter end without really
being recogised or getting what he needs. When I played him I found
him to be single minded, fiercely loyal with a loyalty that blinded
him to reality. As the world disintegrated around him he buried
himself in service: "I will serve, I will make everything
better by serving..." I liked the character enormously:
so soft, so unworldly, and throughout the play so lost."
Is King Lear insane?
markally writes: "Lear talk's about "going mad".
I'm not sure that's the same as insane. If your using the terms
interchangibly, then 1. he leaves the safety of indoors to spend
the night in the storm, 2. his rantings with Gloucester, 3. his
willingness to spend the rest of his life in prison with Cordelia
(before she is killeed."
What do the storm scenes reveal about Shakespeare's intentions
in the creation of Lear's character and how is the Fool important
to this? (question from
nico_b writes: "The revelance of company to
character- KL keeps company with his Fool at this low point, so what
say about him?
The Fool provokes a little response in terms of action from
KL which may show character, but mostly he has much insight
into KL's personality
and life, which he shares with him and the audience. I would try
to interpret what the fool is trying to say in the storm scenes
and what it shows
about KL. See also what is different about what the Fool says here
as oppose to in the rest of the play."
What makes King Lear a tragedy?
KatiePete84 writes: "The full title of this novel is The
Tragedy of King Lear. More commonly known as simply King Lear,
it seems more appropriate to include the full title because this
story truly is a tragedy. It is arguably Shakespeare's greatest
tragedy, if not his greatest play. Critic Ernest Dowden notes that
King Lear is "one in which the passions assume the largest
proportion, act upon the widest theater, and attain their absolute
extremes." It is all too true. King Lear is a complex character
and does not respond well to criticism or a pessimistic outlook
in relation to him. The reader finds him to be full of passion
(fury) when Cordelia tells him that there is nothing she could
say that could rightly express her love for her father. He does
not understand that she is the only faithful daughter that he
King Lear continues to wear his heart on his sleeve throughout
the entire play. Towards the end, we see that he is so engulfed
in his remorse and
grief of the death of Cordelia that it consumes him. The reason why
the play is so tragic is because Lear goes through the entire
play, not knowing
the quantity and strength of the love that Cordelia has for him. He
feels smothered with remorse that he treated her with such disrespect
yet all the while, Cordelia continues to remain loyal despite his cruelty.
There certainly is a great deal of significance within this title."
Why does King Lear take off his clothes in Act 3?
Jude writes: "Lear takes his clothes off in
the storm to be as close to nature as possible. Also Edgar, who is
many clothes, has inspired him, Lear finds Edgar to be down to
earth and easy to relate to."
smiles writes: "lear takes his clothes off
2 find out what separates man from man.He is trying 2 find out how
we really 2 the 'bare forked animal'"