Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Folger Exhibitions
• Past Exhibitions

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

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)

Bookmark and Share   
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623