Folly (allegory)

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Folly (Latin: Moria) was a common allegorical figure in medieval morality plays and in allegorical artwork through the Renaissance. The depiction is generally of a young man, often similar in appearance to a jester or the tarot card, The Fool.[1] In contrast to the many obvious classical allusions in such works, the depictions owe little to the Greek goddess Atë.

A standard medieval allegory of Folly, painted by Giotto.

In drama, the character tempts the protagonist into foolish action, successfully or not. In an allegorical painting, the figure may be counterpoised to Prudence, representing a choice, or alone, representing the unwisdom of the actors in the painting.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mackay, Constance D'Arcy (1915). Costumes and Scenery for Amateurs. Henry Holt and Company. p. 197. 


ed. A.W. Ward, A.R. Waller, W.P. Trent, J. Erskine, S.P. Sherman, and C. Van Doren. "Sir David Lyndsay". The Cambridge history of English and American literature: An encyclopedia in eighteen volumes. III.