Appeared in Autumn/Winter 2003, Vol. XXVIII, Nos. 3, 4
The disappearance of the Fool in King Lear is one of the play’s many oddities: a character who has grown larger and larger in stature as the play has developed is unobtrusively dispatched with a final riddling message: hearing Lear’s announcement that “We’ll go to supper in the morning,” the Fool replies, “And I’ll go to bed at noon.” The reply is unwittingly prophetic, for we later learn that the Fool is indeed “put to bed at noon,” at a point when much remains unresolved, when the major business of Lear’s education, hitherto entrusted to the Fool, remains woefully incomplete.
To continue reading, download the PDF here.