virus: Re: virus-digest V2 #217

Ken Pantheists (
Wed, 13 Aug 1997 16:35:35 -0700

Brett pointed out that:
Someone suggested that the "Mprc" ('M'eaning, 'p'urpose, 'r'eason, 'c'ause)
of a jester is to keep the king from becoming self-important. I suggest
that this may have been his function, but not the meaning, purpose, reason,

I think there is *some* truth to the idea that *some* court performers used
their craft to satirize the political heads. There is a long looooong
history od the relationship between theatre and polity threading through
much of Western civilization-- from the times of the Greek Chorus members
to the clowns of the 'Del Arte.

I think is a myth that the court jester was as fine an instrument. It is
one we carry from Shakespeare's King Lear which so deftly uses the fool as
the counterpoint, foil, partner in crime of the aging (foolish) king.

In truth, studies in the history of treating of the mentally ill or the
physically deformed show that the majority were put to a less flattering or
enlightened use. They were simply cared for and laughed at by those rich
enough to keep them. Institutionalization of the care of the "insane"
actually brouh the "show" to a different venue for a while. Right up until
post revoltioary years in France-- The Bethlehem Hospital in Paris (Bedlam)
offered weekend "shows" of their insane. Marat /Sade by Peter Weiss, a
wonderful play, used this historical fact as a stylistic framework. The
full title of Marat/Sade is "The Persecution and Assaassination of Jean
Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the
Direction of the Marquis de Sade"

Long title huh?

This isn't to say that there may not have been fools that were outstanding
in their field.