Best 23 Fool Quotes in King Lear
William Shakespeare’s tragic play, King Lear, is renowned for its rich characters and profound exploration of human nature. One of the most intriguing characters in the play is the Fool, who serves as Lear’s jester and offers astute observations disguised as jests. The Fool’s role adds depth and complexity to the narrative, and his witty and thought-provoking quotes resonate with audiences to this day. In this article, we will explore the best 23 Fool quotes in King Lear, providing insight into the Fool’s wisdom and shedding light on the play’s themes.
1. “Have more than thou showest; Speak less than thou knowest.” – The Fool advises Lear to exercise caution with his words and actions, emphasizing the importance of subtlety and restraint.
2. “The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.” – This quote highlights the Fool’s ability to find humor in the simplest of things, reminding us not to take life too seriously.
3. “Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.” – The Fool criticizes Lear’s lack of wisdom, suggesting that age alone does not guarantee wisdom.
4. “I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing.” – The Fool challenges Lear’s perception of power and status, suggesting that true wisdom lies in acknowledging one’s limitations.
5. “He that has a little tiny wit, with hey, ho, the wind and the rain, must make content with his fortunes fit, though the rain it raineth every day.” – The Fool sings this song, implying that one must find contentment in life’s hardships, even when it seems like the rain will never stop.
6. “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.” – The Fool’s satire highlights the corruption and folly that pervade the kingdom, foreshadowing the chaos to come.
7. “If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I’d have thee beaten for being old before thy time.” – The Fool suggests that Lear’s foolishness stems from his refusal to accept the limitations of old age, implying that true wisdom comes from embracing one’s stage of life.
8. “This is not altogether fool, my lord.” – The Fool cleverly disguises his profound insights as mere foolishness, demonstrating his ability to navigate the treacherous waters of court politics.
9. “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.” – The Fool warns Lear about the fickle nature of those who serve him, cautioning against blind trust and emphasizing the importance of discernment.
10. “The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long that it had its head bit off by its young.” – This metaphorical quote alludes to Lear’s misguided decision to divide his kingdom among his daughters, highlighting the consequences of nurturing those who will eventually turn against you.
11. “The knave turns fool that runs away; the fool no knave, perdy.” – The Fool implies that cowardice is worse than foolishness, suggesting that it is better to be a fool who stays true to oneself than a scoundrel who flees from responsibility.
12. “Let me hire him too. Here’s my coxcomb.” – The Fool offers his hat, symbolizing his role as Lear’s trusted advisor and confidant.
13. “Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.” – The Fool reminds Lear that wisdom does not come with age alone, urging him to seek true understanding rather than relying on his regal status.
14. “Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears do scald like molten lead.” – The Fool contrasts Lear’s blissful ignorance with his own suffering, emphasizing the tragic nature of their respective roles.
15. “This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.” – The Fool suggests that the harshness of their circumstances will strip away the veneer of sanity, exposing the true nature of humanity.
16. “I did her wrong.” – The Fool acknowledges his own mistakes, demonstrating his capacity for self-reflection and growth.
17. “When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.” – This quote encapsulates the Fool’s philosophical musings, suggesting that life itself is a tragicomedy in which we are all unwitting participants.
18. “Foolish tears, I’ll laugh at them no more.” – The Fool recognizes the futility of tears and chooses to embrace laughter as a coping mechanism.
19. “Thou art a fool to bid me farewell twice.” – The Fool playfully mocks Lear’s request to say goodbye twice, reminding him of his own foolishness.
20. “I had rather be any kind o’ thing than a fool.” – This quote challenges the perception of fools as mere jesters, highlighting the Fool’s desire for self-fulfillment and recognition.
21. “Marry, I will teach you: think yourself a baby that you have taken these tenders for true pay, which are not sterling.” – The Fool exposes the deceitful nature of flattery, warning Lear against mistaking false promises for genuine affection.
22. “Why, after I have cut the egg i’ th’ middle and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i’ th’ middle and gav’st away both parts, thou borest thine ass on thy back o’er the dirt.” – The Fool uses a witty analogy to criticize Lear’s decision to divide his kingdom, suggesting that he carried the burden of his own foolishness.
23. “And I’ll go to bed at noon.” – The Fool’s final words in the play symbolize his withdrawal from the chaos of the world, leaving the audience to reflect on the consequences of human folly.
Q: What is the role of the Fool in King Lear?
A: The Fool serves as Lear’s jester and offers insightful observations disguised as jests. He serves as Lear’s trusted advisor and confidant, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.
Q: Why are the Fool’s quotes significant?
A: The Fool’s quotes provide profound insights into human nature, wisdom, and the consequences of folly. They serve as a commentary on the themes of the play and offer a unique perspective on the events unfolding on stage.
Q: What is the Fool’s relationship with Lear?
A: The Fool shares a close and complicated relationship with Lear. He is one of the few characters who can speak the truth to Lear without fear of retribution. The Fool often challenges Lear’s decisions and offers guidance, acting as a voice of reason in the midst of chaos.
Q: How does the Fool’s character contribute to the overall message of the play?
A: The Fool’s character highlights the theme of folly and the consequences of unchecked power. Through his witty and thought-provoking quotes, the Fool serves as a reminder that wisdom does not always come from those in positions of authority, and that even the most powerful can be blind to their own flaws.
In conclusion, the Fool’s character in King Lear is a fascinating and integral part of the play. His clever and thought-provoking quotes add depth and complexity to the narrative, shedding light on the themes of wisdom, folly, and the human condition. The Fool’s role as Lear’s trusted advisor and confidant provides a unique perspective on the events unfolding on stage, making him a memorable and significant character in Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy.