Elizabethan Era 1558 - 1603

The Tudors Era 1485 - 1603

Jacobean Era 1603 - 1625

Elizabethan Jesters



The Elizabethan era saw the emergence of many types of occupations. These occupations together helped in the proper functioning of the royal machinery. There were the courtiers, the nobles, the knights and various others who helped the court to function properly. There were also a group of people whose job was very important.

In fact, they were the undeniable part of any and every court and noble houses. These were the jesters. It is true that the jester's job by far was the most important one. They had to look after the mental well being of the people, royal or otherwise.



He had to entertain. For this he used many tools. Sometimes he took the help of sarcasm; sometimes his clever wit helped him to make light comedy. Sometimes even his mental or physical deformity was a source of entertainment for others. There were many kinds of such jesters attached with the royal Elizabethan court.

They had powerful patronages in court and sometimes used their sharp wit to diffuse situations of very delicate matter. The fools were so powerful and essential that they even became an essential part of the Elizabethan dramas and plays. William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and many other eminent scholars used the character of the fool or jester extensively in their plays.

These characters sometimes played the role of entertainers and were a source of merriment and sometimes their voice was used to reflect the dire predicament of a situation.

In some plays the fools have a dark character which reminds the viewer that the play deals with a situation so dark and dangerous that all the morals and characters are reversed and the fool or jester who was supposed to be the source of innocent entertainment becomes a character replete with dark drama.

The jesters were characterised by a particular costume. They wore garishly bright outfits and had pants of differently coloured pant legs. They also wore the fool's cap which had bells attached to its ends which were formed in the shape of ears on the head.

The court jesters were of course different from the theatrical fools. The fools were fashioned on court jesters but they were portrayed with magnified characteristics. It was not always necessary for the court jesters to be so over the top.

They could be subtle. In fact, since they did not have the justification of the stage they could not afford to be abrupt or overtly cynical in fear of treading on some important political toes.

   
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