In Twelfth Night, how does the clown prove that Olivia is a fool?

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Throughout the play, Feste calls other people fools as an insult. For him, being a "fool" is a profession, but when he calls another person a fool, he means it more as we use it today, to mean "a stupid or unwise person." When he tells Olivia that she is a fool, he means that she is being unwise or acting in a nonsensical way. He shows this to be the case by demonstrating that her mourning for her brother is foolish. She mourns for the loss of her brother, but if his soul is in heaven, as she believes, then there is no reason to mourn, Feste says. Therefore, since she is mourning her brother even though he is in heaven, she is a fool. Of course, this is only true on the surface, since mourning involves a lot more than one's concern for whether the person mourned is in the afterlife—one's own regret that one will not see them again, etc.—but on the surface level, he has proved her unwise. But he doesn't really do this to make her believe she is a fool; rather, he's trying to cheer her...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 639 words.)

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