How Does The Fool Character Trope In A Midsummer Night's Dream

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For centuries following this literary hero’s death, scholars have been intensely analyzing the details of Shakespeare’s works to learn about his insights on the aspects of human nature, which greatly surpass his times and influence our understanding of ourselves today. However, one of his most important ways of representing very serious themes and issues he found within his society is often overlooked: the use of the fool character trope. Shakespeare’s use of fools to comment on his play’s important themes and give the audience his views on those subjects, is an undervalued but essential aspect of his works. This common Renaissance dramatic trope that Shakespeare inverted used ditzy court jesters designed to make audiences laugh at their ridiculous words,…show more content…
Clown characters were based upon the real-life career of court jesters, who were employed by nobles and royalty to entertain them by use of physical and verbal comedy (“Shakespeare’s Clowns and Fools”). Because of their roles as entertainers, jesters were often given more freedom to be blunt than other courtiers and say whatever foolish or even offensive things they desired, because masters and audiences could be amused by the stupidity of their words (Rasmussen and DeJong). Nick Bottom, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is one of the best examples of Shakespeare’s use of these genuinely foolish clowns. Throughout the play, Bottom makes thoughtless and incorrect comments on characters and events to provide viewers with comic relief (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”). To add physical comedy, “Bottom 's head is transformed into that of a donkey, making him the butt of the play 's biggest joke” (Shmoop Editorial Team, “Bottom”). Because many Renaissance playwrights enjoyed telling very tragic or frightful stories, hilariously idiotic fools were implemented into these plays to alleviate some of the audience’s tension with
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