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The Fool: "Innocent" or Tormented Outsider?

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The Fool: "Innocent" or Tormented Outsider?


Several threads have touched on the iconography of the Fool.

I've noticed what I might call a "slight trend" in the early depictions of the Fool as being a "teased and tormented outsider" rather than being an "innocent" as sometimes/often is discussed when regarding the Tarot.

The Tarot of Jean Noblet from c. 1650 shows a remarkable image of the Fool with genitalia exposed. This is the only TdM images to show the Fool as such. Even though other TdM images seem to imply that the Fool's "leggings" are falling, only the Noblet shows that they are fallen and that his "privates" are not only exposed... but in "danger" by the approaching claws of the animal that follows him.
http://tarot-history.com/Jean-Noblet/pages/le-fov.html

This image makes me think of the "d'Este Tarot", which to me also shows the Fool with exposed genitalia:
http://tarothistory.com/images/deste_fool.jpg

As well as the "Charles VI Tarot" which seems (to me), to show children gathering rocks to throw at the Fool, and the Fool in a rather "exposed" state:
http://expositions.bnf.fr/renais/images/3/035.jpg

Is there any historical information that "The Fool" was "Tormented", "Exposed", and an "Outsider".. as compared to an "Innocent"?

thanks,
robert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le pendu
Is there any historical information that "The Fool" was "Tormented", "Exposed", and an "Outsider".. as compared to an "Innocent"?

thanks,
robert
See my other threads on meaning of Fou/Tarot as meaning 'outside, abroad' and 'wounded, hurt, tormented'.

Kwaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
See my other threads on meaning of Fou/Tarot as meaning 'outside, abroad' and 'wounded, hurt, tormented'.

Kwaw
Hi Kwaw, I always appreciate your links/contributions. Can you make it a bit easier for me and others by linking to the discussions?

thanks,
robert
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This I find interesting, Chapter 5 of the Dhammapada:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe10/sbe1007.htm

----
CHAPTER V.

THE FOOL.

60. Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.

61. If a traveller does not meet with one who is his better, or his equal, let him firmly keep to his solitary journey; there is no companionship with a fool.

62. 'These sons belong to me, and this wealth belongs to me,' with such thoughts a fool is tormented. He himself does not belong to himself; how much less sons and wealth?

63. The fool who knows his foolishness, is wise at least so far. But a fool who thinks himself wise, he is called a fool indeed.

64. If a fool be associated with a wise man even all his life, he will perceive the truth as little as a spoon perceives the taste of soup.

65. If an intelligent man be associated for one minute only with a wise man, he will soon perceive the truth, as the tongue perceives the taste of soup.

66. Fools of little understanding have themselves
-----

... especially because iconography of the TDM Fool is sometimes said to contain a "Spoon" for the handle of his knapsack.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le pendu
Hi Kwaw, I always appreciate your links/contributions. Can you make it a bit easier for me and others by linking to the discussions?

robert
They are all in recent posts. For example:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.p...0&postcount=56

Quote:
'fou' also meant 'out, outside',as in expressions 'buvet fou' drink out and 'venez fou' come out, as a corruption of fors, meaning among other things 'without doors [ie, outside], or abroad'.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread...014#post925014

quote:
Tarauder (v) tap (a hole for a screw); (Literature) torment.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.p...2&postcount=37

quote:
'Fora' is used in Dante to mean 'wounds, hurts', similar to the literary use of tarault/tariere/tarot to mean 'torment'.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.p...7&postcount=57

quote:
Edward Phillips, The New World of English Words (1658)
A Mate, or Checkmate, (a Term used in the Game at Chess) is when the Game is brought to that passe, that there is no way left for the King to escape, from the Italian word Matto, i. foolish and inconsiderate, or the Spanish Matar, i. to kill.
*
John Florio, A World of Words (1598)
Matto - mad, fond, foolish, simple; a mad, foolish simple gul. Also a mate or check mate at chesse.Also the middle or ninth pin at keeles, or nine pins, the mistres bowle to caste at.

That is, in checkmate, to overcome or kill; in bowling the 'nine pin' to be caste at [that is, thrown at].

http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.p...15&postcount=5
quote:
Both Fou and Tarot mean 'hole-maker' [Tarot also, auger, used in literary sense to denote 'torment', as also related Italian Fora, as well as 'outside, abroad' and used in literary texts [eg. dante] to mean wounds and hurts..

Kwaw
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Thanks Kwaw,

The links are very interesting!

Are there any historical images that support the Fool as tormented besides the ones that I have suggested?

best,
robert
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This page

http://www.jeffhouse.addr.com/mythology/fools.htm

speaks of two fools: the 'natural' fool, incapable of understanding Law and therefore permitted to speak harsh truths without punishment, and the 'artificial fool', abnormally wise and seeing beyond the earthly, often outcasts because people fear their vision.

Fol - comes from the latin 'Folis' meaning 'bag of wind, bellows' (ie windbag, empty-headed) according to the online etymology dictionary. Perhaps his bag is a bag of wind!!!!
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*~poof~*
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le pendu
Is there any historical information that "The Fool" was "Tormented", "Exposed", and an "Outsider".. as compared to an "Innocent"?
Good question. I have read that the travelling alchemists were considered fools by many "enlightened" folk as the age of reason took hold.

Those early depictions of the Fool immediately bring to my mind the image of a hobo. The long spoon for dipping into the "mulligan stew," the tattered clothes, and dirty appearance. Anyone who has taken a journey by foot on the byways and back roads understands the danger dogs and other wild animals can present. The hobo subculture is one that a lot of people are vaguely aware of, but until recently has been a fairly private one. That alchohol is responsible for a good share of homeless tansience goes without saying, and there are plenty of references in literature on the folly of its abuse. While I can't point to any specific sources at the moment, I am sure there have always been "hoboes" and that they have always been looked upon as outisders and quite foolish to most people.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le pendu
Several threads have touched on the iconography of the Fool.

I've noticed what I might call a "slight trend" in the early depictions of the Fool as being a "teased and tormented outsider" rather than being an "innocent" as sometimes/often is discussed when regarding the Tarot.
...........

Is there any historical information that "The Fool" was "Tormented", "Exposed", and an "Outsider".. as compared to an "Innocent"?
I think the idea of an Innocent fool is more modern and romantic: it makes me think of Wagner's Parsifal.

As historical information, maybe we can consider Cesare Ripa's definition of Folly (Pazzia):
http://emblem.libraries.psu.edu/Ripa...s/ripa059a.htm

Folly is only acting contrary to due decorum, and the common custom of men.
And also Stolititia (Stupidity):

STOLTITIA.
Donna ignuda, con attitudine stravolta et che mostri ridendo le parti meno honeste del corpo, con una Pecora vicino, perché il Pazzo palesa i suoi difetti ad ognuno et il Savio li cela.
Si dipinge ignuda et senza vergogna.
La Pecora da gli antichi, secondo che assegna il Pierio Valeriano, fu posta molte volte per la Stoltezza et melensaggine. Però disse Dante:
Huomini siate et non pecore matte.
Haverà in una mano la Luna, perché ad essa stanno molto soggetti i Pazzi et sentono facilmente le sue mutationi.

A naked woman laughing and showing the less honest parts of her body, with a sheep near her. Because the Fool shows everybody his defects, and the Wise hides them. She is represented naked and without shame. ....

There is an interesting page by Andrea Vitali on this subject:
http://www.associazioneletarot.it/Saggi/Il_Folle.asp
Apparently, an English translation was available on trionfi.com but is no more there. You can still find it in google cache:
http://209.85.135.104/search?q=cache...it&lr=&strip=1
(or try a search for "means acting without reason" and click on the cache link in google list).

Vitali quotes the Bible, and it would be interesting to see how the concept of foolishness is treated in the Book.

For instance "The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians" seems to suggest the idea of the innocent fool:

3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
3:20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
Marco
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