Chapter 5: When it is wise to play the fool: a lesson in servant leadership, courtesy of King Lear
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Approaching the figure of the wise fool in King Lear through the lens of servant leadership and tracing the ways Shakespeare diffuses the role of the wise fool across Edgar, Kent, and the actual Fool in King Lear, this chapter illustrates how Lear’s loyal servants bring him into greater consciousness of his leadership failures and the social upheaval that ensues when leaders value personal power over social well-being. By studying the seemingly paradoxical figures of the wise fool and the servant leader in King Lear alongside political analogues from the Trump presidency, Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy offers modern audiences a lesson in the value of self-sacrifice and service in the face of political hardships.

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