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How dangerous was it to be a jester? - Beatrice K. Otto


620 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

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Contrary to common belief, jesters weren’t just a medieval European phenomenon but flourished in other times and cultures. The first reliably recorded jester is thought to be You Shi, of 7th century BCE China. Jesters had unique relationships to power: they could be viewed as objects of mockery or as entertainers and trusted companions. Beatrice K. Otto digs into history's most infamous jokers.

People in powerful positions usually have ready access to information provided by the best minds. This applied as much in the past as now. Why do you think they often welcomed the presence and advice of someone like a fool, usually from a humble background, to tell them the truth?

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Beatrice K. Otto
  • Director Yael Reisfeld
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer
  • Music Jan Willem De With
  • Sound Designer Jan Willem De With
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Produced by Anna Bechtol, Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Script Producer Cella Wright
  • Script Editor Molly Bryson
  • Fact-Checker Charles Wallace

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