The Use of Nothing: the Abiding Disappearance of Lear's Fool

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The Use of Nothing: the Abiding Disappearance of Lear's Fool

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Title: The Use of Nothing: the Abiding Disappearance of Lear's Fool
Author: Speck, Edward F. V.
Citation: Speck, Edward F. V. 2017. The Use of Nothing: the Abiding Disappearance of Lear's Fool. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
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Abstract: This study investigates the disappearance of the Fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear and how that disappearance affects our conception of the character and experience of the play. The investigation begins with the question “why does Lear’s Fool disappear without explanation after Act III?” Possible answers put forth in criticism and performance are examined, and a more complete answer is sought. A comparison of the traditions of medieval fool literature with those of tragic theater reveals opposing forces forged the Fool, making him subject to contradictory demands. The unique nature of the Fool as a marriage of comic function with tragic pathos is shown to make the Fool’s disappearance essential. The investigation concludes that the Fool’s disappearance was necessary to the play and reveals the revolutionary value of Lear’s Fool as progenitor of the clowns of modernity.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33826267
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