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Saturday, April 1, 2017

On April Fool's Day - Shakespeare's Wise Fools


The Fool is a recurring character type in the works of William Shakespeare.  Shakespearean fools are usually clever peasants or commoners that use their wits to outdo people of higher social standing. 

Here are some of my favourite lines by Fools: 

Feste, Twelfth Night, or What You Will
“Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.”

Touchstone, As You Like It
“The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.”

The Fool, King Lear
“Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise”

The Fool, King Lear
“Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest.”

BookRiot suggests 8 more examples of “knavish wisdom of the Bard’s merriest philosophers”:  http://bookriot.com/2012/03/30/8-wisest-lines-from-shakespeares-fools/.   

If you are interested in the evolution of fools in Shakespeare’s plays, check out this article on the British Library website:  https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/shakespeares-fools.