The Images of Carnival and Grotesque in the Characters of Fool, King Lear, and Edgar in the Tragedy of King Lear by William Shakespeare

Volume 6, Issue 6, December 2022     |     PP. 387-402      |     PDF (248 K)    |     Pub. Date: December 4, 2022
DOI: 10.54647/sociology84938    104 Downloads     2082 Views  


Shohreh Haji Mola Hosein, PhD of English Literature, Department of English Language & Literature, The Faculty of foreign Languages and Literature, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Worth-reading tragedy of King Lear is one of master dramas of William Shakespeare, attracting readers and the audience for its universal and zeitgeist themes. It still suggests unexplored themes which are revealed in different periods of time. The images of carnival and grotesque have made a sublime tragedy representing internal and external causes of King Lear’s fall. Subversion of old-officialdom, mask, comic and sarcastic language, off shoot of hierarchical systems, feast of rebirth and restoration are indispensable rudiments of carnival. Grotesque signifies the cycle of birth, growth, improvement, death, disintegration, and rebirth. Mental disorder, madness, melancholy, old age, and the cycle of death and rebirth are the images of grotesque in King Lear. Historical features and remarkable themes of carnival haven been clarified by an exiled Russian philosopher, Mikhail Bakhtin and highlighted by Natalia Pikli, Doctor of Philosophy. Grotesque features have been described by Mikhail Bakhtin. Revealing characteristics and language of fools in carnival, witty Fool of the play has also a self-reflectional character of the author refuting current social and political defects in King Lear. Fool is a multi-skilled character playing and announcing substantial philosophy of life, family relationship, weak points of human beings, and political mistakes. While making the audience laugh at King Lear by his metaphoric language, Fool undermines monarchical mistakes behind the mask of a jester and uncovers man’s idiocy on the whole. His essential difference from the other fools is that he helps the king to find out his inevitable wrong doings and observe the truth. The dethroned egotistical king experiences self-realization and encounters depression and madness before his death or one side of grotesque. Having the potential of restoration in Britain, Edgar is the epitome of rebirth and the other side of grotesque.

Carnival, Cycle of Death and Rebirth, Grotesque, King Lear, Mask, Melancholy, Self-realization

Cite this paper
Shohreh Haji Mola Hosein, The Images of Carnival and Grotesque in the Characters of Fool, King Lear, and Edgar in the Tragedy of King Lear by William Shakespeare , SCIREA Journal of Sociology. Volume 6, Issue 6, December 2022 | PP. 387-402. 10.54647/sociology84938


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