Batman Universitesi Yasam Bilimleri Dergisi
Cilt 1, Sayı 1  Ocak-Haziran 2012  (ISSN: 2147-4877, E-ISSN: 2459-0614)
Selen Tekalp, Emrah Işık

NO Makale Adı
1356293211 The Unifying Role of Fools in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Twelfth Night

Shakespeare makes a great contribution to develop the king’s fool and
adds a different dimension to the notion of foolery. Shakespeare’s clowns and fools
are realistic. Although Shakespeare himself never actually uses the word “reality”,
its presence is crucial for an assessment of his comedies and fools. In order to present
this reality in As You Like It and Twelfth Night, he creates two witty fools or, more
precisely, “jesters”: Touchstone and Feste. They both are the fools of aristocracy who
are valued by the courtiers. Since Shakespeare’s fools are “realist” in a sense, they
certainly play a critical role in the implementation of the task which is to expose
the facts implicitly. On the one hand, they are given the crucial role of telling the
truth to the audience. In other words, they act as mediators between the play and the
audience. On the other hand they reconcile the characters; hence maintain the balance
from beginning to end. The plays are kept in unity thanks to them. How do these fools
manage to carry out such kind of a mission and, amidst all the clash of values, where
do they stand? Shakespeare does not eliminate opposite ideas; rather, he provides an
equilibrium by “juxtaposing” these values. In As You Like It, for example, there is an
agreement between romantic and anti-romantic ideas. In Twelfth Night, likewise, the
central theme is “ambivalence”. There exists the clash of values throughout the play.
The play is based on illusion of the lovers, however, illusion brings its own reality in
the end. In the light of these contrasts, the concept of the “foolery” in two works and
the relation of fools to the other characters will be touched upon herein. Besides, their
unifying roles will be highlighted through examples of how Touchstone and Feste
are created by Shakespeare in order to keep the harmony between appearance and
reality or, in more general terms, between antithetic values.