What is Ben's function in the novel?

The narrator first runs into Ben at the beach cottage.

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Ben is the only character in the novel to refer to Rebecca in a negative way from the very beginning. Until Maxim reveals the truth about Rebecca near the end of the book, the narrator operates under the delusion that Rebecca was beloved by everyone. As such, she overlooks Ben's cryptic assertions about Rebecca, assuming that they are merely the confused ramblings of a mentally disabled man. In this way, Ben assumes the position of the wise fool, a literary archetype that dates back to Ancient Rome but was popularized in Shakespearean plays such as King Lear. As with the Fool in King Lear who uses his "mental eye" to see the true natures of the King's daughters, Ben is able to see the evil in Rebecca long before the narrator does. Please see the GradeSaver site for the source-link to this excerpt below.