An affirmation of life, even in the face of the century's greatest evil, is what makes Life is Beautiful thematically beautiful. Guido, the protagonist, is brilliant as the father who uses imagination and cheer to shield his son Joshua from the reality and horrors of the Holocaust. In this, his characterization is reminiscent of Shakespeare's Fool. I was reminded of the scene in King Lear, of the King and his Fool on the heath. In Life is Beautiful, Guido plays the Fool, Joshua is King Lear ( Lear is after all nothing but a child) and the Holocaust is the metaphorical storm. Both Guido and the Fool use wit and humour to conceal and reveal respectively. While Guido plays the Fool with intention to conceal truths, the Fool's wit serves to reveal to the 'child' king, the errors caused by his folly. Also, both Lear and Joshua play a game of life an d death by which they stand to lose all. While Lear stakes his kingdom and loses -he dies, Joshua plays and "wins" -he lives. Finally, why do we like Guido? Because he retains his spirit and remains the incurable romantic even as his family faces extinction.