Clowns – An Essay

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Are you the kind of a person who gets frightened when you encounter a strange person with extravagant makeup and big clothes that are colorful? I guess you are not alone. The mere mention of a clown sends people running like they saw the devil himself. Someone could wonder, what is so strange about clowns that they even frighten the elderly? Well, their appearance, I guess. Many people confess their hate for clowns; I think they view it as a bad omen encountering one. Even children who are supposed to love clowns fear them.

A clown refers to performers who crack funny jokes and apply practical tricks to make people laugh. They play the fool and put on extravagant outfits as well as makeup which excites people. Conjurer, jester, fool, buffoon, tumbler, gleeman, mime, actor, merry counselor, puppeteer, comic, and mirthmaker are also names that are used to refer to a clown (Loftus et al., 1983). We’ll take a look at what a clown is, the different types, and how they came to be. A clown first came into existence in England back in 17th century where dell’arte, a Commedia inspired its existence through harlequinade development. The clown character resembled a nitwit person. There are many types of clowns, below are the most famous of all.

Firstly, we have the whiteface clown whose face is painted white and wears oversized outfits. Buffoonish and classical are the two types of the whiteface clown. Classical is developed from the Pierrot character and buffoonish from comedy clown. Whiteface clown has an exaggerated red mouth, nose, and in most cases red hair. Bozo the Clown is an excellent example of this type of clown found in North America (Loftus et al., 1983). Their white face makes them identified from afar.
Auguste clown is another classification of clowns. White paint around the mouth and eyes as well as a large nose are the characteristics of this clown. Their skin is painted to resemble flesh tones, with black or red painting on the lower lip. The eyebrows are exaggerated and they wear bright wigs and clothes. Auguste clowns always play as the clumsy and stupid character though they evolve as the years go by.

Tramp clown is the third, most famous, clown who came into picture back in the 19th century. The clown wears tattered or patched clothes. The mouth and area near the eyes are painted white, and the clown symbolized the internally displaced people present in the 19th century. The clown can either be sad or happy (Koller & Gryski, 2008). An excellent example of tramp clown is the Red Skelton or Emmette Kely which represented the Freddy Freeloader.
In conclusion, clowns are characters who dress in a way that provoke fear to people, but also brings laughter to those who understand and enjoy them. Whiteface, Auguste, and Tramp are the three major kinds of clowns as explained above, although there are many more types. Do clowns make you smile and laugh, or do they make you want run and hide?


Koller, D., & Gryski, C. (2008). The life threatened child and the life-enhancing clown: towards a model of therapeutic clowning. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, 5(1), 17-25. Retrieved from

Loftus, G. R., Nelson, W. W., & Kallman, H. J. (1983). Differential acquisition rates for different types of information from pictures. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A, 35(1), 187-198. Retrieved from

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