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Fortune Favors Fools



A familiar commonplace to Shakespeare and his contemporaries was encapsulated in the proverb "Fortune favors fools" or its Latin ancestor Fortuna favet fatuis. Erasmus wittily exploited this idea in his Moriae Encomium (1515) when Folly begins a short discussion of her relationship with Fortune saying, "Fortune, the directrix of human affairs, favors me while she has always been very hostile to the wise."

 

The idea that Fortune favors fools is pictured here with Fortune, blindfolded and holding her rudder, standing protectively beside an ape wearing the robes and crown and holding the sceptre of royalty.


Otto Vaenius. Quinti Horatii Flacci emblemata ... Antwerp, 1612 (Detail)




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