Utopia

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A Joker Character Analysis

One of the men whom Raphael Hythloday speaks with at Cardinal Morton’s table, the joker constantly tries to say witty things (as a traditional “fool” would), but he only succeeds once in a while. He jokes that beggars should be forced into monasteries and convents and made into lay brethren and nuns, and he also says that friars are actually vagabonds, or begging drifters. The Cardinal accepts the first proposal in jest, but others at the table uncritically accept it in earnest, which suggests to Hythloday how little such courtiers would value his counsel. In any case, the joker enrages the friar with his last joke, and the Cardinal, seeing no end in sight to the argument, at last sends the joker away.
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A Joker Character Timeline in Utopia

The timeline below shows where the character A Joker appears in Utopia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
Bad Governance, Pride, and Idleness Theme Icon
The Ambiguities of Utopia Theme Icon
Hythloday then tells More and Giles about a joker at Cardinal Morton’s table who tried to say witty things as a professional fool might,... (full context)
Bad Governance, Pride, and Idleness Theme Icon
The Ambiguities of Utopia Theme Icon
...is to make provisions for the sick and old who have fallen into beggary. The joker proposes that beggars be forced into monasteries and convents and made into lay brethren and... (full context)
Bad Governance, Pride, and Idleness Theme Icon
Ideals and Practicality Theme Icon
The joker’s mockery of friars is too much for the friar to bear, and he is enraged.... (full context)