I had rather be any kind o’thing than a Fool, and yet I would not be thee, nuncle. Thou hast pared thy wit o’both sides and left nothing i’th’middle. Here comes one o’the parings-Fool (1.4, 167-170)
As demonstrated in this quote, in King Lear, the Fool is a voice of truth for the King. He says that he would rather be anything but a fool, but he wouldn’t want to be him (Lear). He is also telling the King that he has been stupid, and that it seems that when he split his kingdom, he split his brain as well and left nothing for himself. Out of all of the characters, the Fool is the one who can tell Lear how it is and state things plainly without being punished. He is the character who says everything the audience is thinking, it’s almost like he is removed from the story, a bit like an all-knowing outside source looking in and seeing everything clearly. Shakespeare seems to have a thing for making the Fool not very foolish in his plays, because he does this in Twelfth Night with the character Feste. In Twelfth Night, Feste is a fool in Olivia’s household, and he knows exactly what is going on. He knows who Cesario really is, and all about the confusion when Sebastian shows up, and he enjoys subtly alluding to the truth. Feste is also the voice of reason for Olivia. He has no qualms about telling her when she is being stupid and what she is doing wrong, and when she needs to stop being an idiot. We see this with the Fool in King Lear. He knows what’s up. He can see right through everyone and their intentions, and he is not afraid to voice his opinion and thoughts. I don’t know why Shakespeare seems to favor the Fool for an almost omniscient character in his plays, but it is an interesting choice and adds to the story because it is an unexpected choice. I wonder if, as the play continues, the Fool will continue to be a voice of truth not only for the King, but for other characters in the play, and if he will show a more omniscient side and predict the upcoming tragedies and try to prevent it? Or if he will continue along the same line as Feste did and act more removed, and not get directly involved.