Analysis Of "Twelfth Night"

884 words - 4 pages

William Shakespeare, arguably the most important writer in all of English
Literature, is certainly the most influential playwright of the English Renaissance. Born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon in rural northern England, he was the son of a middle class glove maker. Competing against such illustrious company as Christopher Marlowe and Ben Johnson, Shakespeare quickly became one of the most popular playwrights in the city of London, and a favourite of the monarch, the powerful Queen Elizabeth I. Shakespeare wrote thirty-eight plays. "Twelfth Night" was written near the middle of Shakespeare' career, around 1601, and most critics consider it as one of his greatest comedies.

"Twelfth Night" is about illusion, deception, disguises, madness and the consequences of love. In the final scene of the play, all the confusion and complexities that have occurred are resolved. This excerpt deals with the subplot of the story; relating Malvolio's love for Olivia and the trick and humiliation orchestrated on him, steward to Olivia.

Thus, we can wonder, what is the dramatic significance of this extract within the play as a whole?

To begin with, the argument will be focused on the concept of "madness." Then, the paper will illustrate the limits of a comic conception of life through this excerpt.

"Twelfth Night" addresses the issue of self-love and how it affects people lives, leading them to a state of madness. In that sense, Malvolio is the easiest to identify with the problem of self-love By seeing himself as a handsome and noble man, he believed that many women would love to be with him. He asked Olivia (v. 351): "Why you have given me such clear lights of favour,...this in an obedient hope", this could be justified by the fact that Malvolio likes to see things one way only, and he deceives himself just to suit his outlook. He twisted Olivia's words (from a fake letter) around to make it sounds like she will admire his yellow cross-gathered stockings, when she really despises them, considering him as a mad. Feste, the clown, said: .".Madam, why laugh you at such a barren rascal, and you smile not he's gagg'd: and thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenge", and by doing so, Feste criticizes Malvolio's overestimation, when at their first meeting Malvolio said: "I marvel your lady takes delight in such a barren rascal." Through doing this, he shows himself to be a man who condescends to those that he believes to be lower than him, acting on his own personal belief of superiority. Thus, this self-inflated sour character is brought to his knees, unlocked in darkness, because he was considered as a "madman", and he "holds Belzebub...

Find Another Essay On Analysis of "Twelfth Night"

Twelfth Night Essays: Three Types of Love

926 words - 4 pages Three Types of Love in Twelfth Night      In the play "Twelfth Night," Shakespeare explores and illustrates the emotion of love with precise detail. According to "Webster's New World Dictionary," love is defined as "a strong affection or liking for someone." Throughout the play Shakespeare examines three different types of love: true love, self love and friendship. "Twelfth Night" consists of a large number of love triangles, however

The Purpose of Disguise in Twelfth Night

1149 words - 5 pages Theme of Disguise in Twelfth Night The notion of disguise is very important theme within Twelfth Night.  From my point of view I feel that the crux of the play is primarily based on this concept.  Indeed "there's something in it that is deceivable" summarizes this point precisely.  Disguise runs like a thread through the play from start to end and holds it all together just as tightly as thread would fabric.  Yet, paradoxically as the plot

Faults of Love in Twelfth Night

2389 words - 10 pages Faults of Love in Twelfth Night Human emotion is a very fickle and ever changing thing that can range from fury to jubilance to depression depending on the situation the person is in at any point in time. These ever changing emotions shape the person and their identity both psychologically and physically. A person who generally resides in a more hostile environment would be more prone to having negative emotions, sometimes even in calm or

The Aspects of Love in Twelfth Night

1007 words - 4 pages The Aspects of Love in Twelfth Night The main theme in Twelfth Night is love. It is announced at the beginning of the play ‘If music be the food of love play on’ and from this you know that love will be a main aspect in Twelfth Night. In Elizabethan time ‘love’ as we know it today was very different. You could not love anyone outside of your social status, marriages were almost always arranged on how the social

The Bittersweet Comedy of Twelfth Night

1483 words - 6 pages The Bittersweet Comedy of Twelfth Night Twelfth night is a name commonly given to the Christian feast of the Epiphany which is celebrated on the 6th of January. On this day we remember the coming of the Magi and the taking down of decorations which is a sad occasion for many but also a happy occasion as new times are beginning. Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy, and romantic love is the play’s main focus. Despite

Characters of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

3103 words - 12 pages Characters of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare The title "What you Will" is a perfect summary of the whole play. This story is about deception in character, being something you are not; whether it being disguising gender, true feelings or beliefs. We never no the real to why Viola chose to disguise her gender. We must assume that she wants to conceal her identity until she has gathered enough information about

The different types of love present in Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night. Shakespeare- Twelfth Night

1109 words - 4 pages Shakespeare's comedy, 'Twelfth Night', is not only about tricks, pranks or black humour; moreover, it's deeply about love and different types of love and how they affect different personalities. The different types of love mentioned by Shakespeare in 'Twelfth Night' are: True love, boasting love, self-love and friendship.'Twelfth Night' consists of many love triangles and the different characters involved in the triangles don't end up with the

Twelfth Night Essay: The Necessity of Cross-dressing

831 words - 3 pages The Necessity of Cross-dressing Twelfth Night        The action of Twelfth Night begins shortly after a damaging tempest shipwrecks the heroine, casting her upon foreign shores. Upon arrival in this strange seaport, Viola--like the Princess Leonide--dons male disguise which facilitates both employment and time enough to orient herself in this unfamiliar territory.   Viola's transvestism functions as emblematic of the antic nature

The Thematic Application of Music In "Twelfth Night"

1051 words - 4 pages false deception.Love and death, disguise and deceit. These are the topics addressed so powerfully with only a few short stanzas of the Clown's Song. However, it is their repetition of the themes and the driving plot of Twelfth Night that really give them significance. The song's words, echoing that of Orsino in Act I, provide a unique analysis of his twisted concept of true love. Even the theme of disguise finds a place within the poetry of the

Function of Disguise in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

1569 words - 6 pages Function of Disguise in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is a play based around disguise in the form of deception and becoming someone different. In Twelfth Night, disguise takes many different shapes from physical disguise to mental disguise. Disguise is one of the main topics of the play and helps to create the plot. It brings in confusion and comedy as well as the darker and

Different Forms of Disguise and Deception in Twelfth Night

1121 words - 4 pages Different Forms of Disguise and Deception in Twelfth Night Twelfth Night is said to be Shakespeare's most complete comedy. As in most comedies, Twelfth Night celebrates different forms of disguise and deception in order to make the play more entertaining. ”There's something in it that is deceivable”(ActIV, ScIII), indeed the crux of the play is based on disguise and deception. The most significant deception would

Similar Essays

Twelfth Night Analysis Of Fools.

1176 words - 5 pages Twelfth Night - Analysis of FoolsA fool can be defined in many meanings according to theOxford English Dictionary On Historical Principles. The wordcould mean "a silly person", or "one who professionallycounterfeits folly for the entertainment of others, a jester,clown" or "one who has little or no reason or intellect" or"one who is made to appear to be a fool" (word originated fromNorth Frisian). In english literature, the two main ways

Twelfth Night Analysis Of Fools

1171 words - 5 pages the foolshould be a prominent & attractive figure and make an importantcontribution to the action" in forming the confusion and thehumor in an Elizabethan drama. In Twelfth Night, the clown andthe fools are the ones who combine humor & wit to make the comedywork.Clowns, jesters, and Buffoons are usually regarded as fools.Their differences could be of how they dress, act or portrayed insociety. A clown for example, "was understood to be a

Character Analysis Of Sir Toby Belch In Shakespeare´S Twelfth Night

1081 words - 5 pages characters, and is by far one of the most humorous. While Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is surrounded around an issue of romantic entanglement, Sir Toby’s very presence is enough to lighten the mood and accentuate the comedic theme of the story through his creation of problems and unique personality. Therefore, Sir Toby Belch is undeniably the most enjoyable character in the entire play. Admittedly, it might be argued that Sir Toby has a very

Twelfth Night: Elements Of Comedy And Irony

1901 words - 8 pages Trevor Nunn's adaptation of "Twelfth Night" is a masterpiece of insight and nuance. Instead of simply playing this gender-bending comedy of mistaken identity, the director highlights the dark undertones of the plot which show surprising depth. There are some alterations from the original text, but those who are less familiar with Shakespeare among the audience can appreciate the story being more easy to follow. For example, when Duke Orsino