Shakespeare’s Wise Fools


Shakespeare1It’s April Fools’ day! This year I thought I’d share some quotes by some very wise fools.

Shakespeare’s fools can be categorized into two groups: the clown (always good for a bit of bawdy fun) and the court jester (although he is not always found in court)

The court jester is quite interesting, as he possess an extra layer of his character as satirical potential. Considered an outcast, the fool was often given free reign to comment on society and the actions of his social betters. This allows for Shakespearean fools to demonstrate a subversive potential. Even so, some of Shakespeare’s greatest one-liners come from his wise fools.

Shakespeare’s wise fools

Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
-Fool, King Lear

Better a witty fool than a foolish wit
-Feste, Twelfth Night

Why, some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrown upon them.
-Feste, Twelfth Night

Good counsellors lack no clients: though you change your place, you need not change your trade.
-Pompey, Measure for Measure

Winning will put any man into courage
-Cloten, Cymbeline,

If men could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in marriage.
-Clown, All’s Well That Ends Well,

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be
a fool
-Touchstone, As You Like It

For honesty coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar
-Touchstone, As You Like It

Author: sarij

I'm a writer, lifelong bibliophile ,and researcher. I hold a Bachelors in Humanities & History and a Master's in Humanities. When I'm not reading or talking about Shakespeare or history, you can usually find me in the garden discussing science or politics with my cat.

2 thoughts on “Shakespeare’s Wise Fools”

  1. I am not sure I talked about it here. I loved the first book, but to be honest, I could not get into the second. I felt Moore really changed Fool’s character. He was so arrogant in the beginning that honestly I just didn’t care about his fate.


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