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Guide Mentor

Character Role Analysis

The Fool

This guy should take away your fear of clowns forever (or at least until the next time you watch It).

With the exception of Kent (whom Lear banishes almost immediately), the Fool is the only one who will tell Lear the truth: that sending Cordelia away was a big mistake, that his two elder daughters shouldn't be trusted, and that his division-of-the-kingdom plan really screwed things up.

Like Touchstone in As You Like It or Feste in Twelfth Night, Lear's Fool sees things clearly and is just about the only one who's willing to tell it like it is—even if Lear doesn't really want to listen. The Fool's disappearance in the end of Lear is interesting when you consider him in this role of mentor. Lear goes mad, and his one pillar of sound advice vanishes at the same time. Quite a coincidence, wouldn't you say?