The Importance Of Madness As A Theme In Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare

997 words - 4 pages

The Importance of Madness as a Theme in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Madness is a very important theme that is present in the whole course
of the play Twelfth Night. Firstly, we have Malvolio almost turning
mad because of the cruel joke the other servants play on him. They
make him think he is mad and they also make Olivia think he is mad
because of the funny way in which he is acting. There is also the
theme of mad love. Some examples of this are Orsino being madly in
love with Olivia, Olivia being madly in love with Cesario/Viola and
Viola falling madly in love with Orsino. This mad love makes Orsino
mad from “a savage jealousy” when he realises Olivia’s love for
Cesario/Viola. Another very important aspect of madness present in the
play is confusion and chaos which lead to madness. A very good example
of this is everyone mistaking Sebastian for Viola and viceversa which
creates very confusing situations for the characters. Also, Feste
acting as a “corrupter of words” can be quite confusing and
maddening, as Malvolio experiences in the play.

Madness can be easily appreciated in Twelfth Night thanks to the
situation Malvolio is put in. Apart from making Olivia think “he’s
much distract” and that he suffers a “very midsummer madness” the
servants also try to make him think he is mad and possessed by saying
“how hollow the fiend speaks within him” and how a “hyperbolical
fiend” vexes him making him talk “nothing but of ladies”. Malvolio
gets imprisoned as if he was a real madman of the time making him
believe he might be mad. The servants reach a point when they act so
much as if Malvolio is mad that they think they “shall make him mad
indeed”. Malvolio initially started to act strangely because he
thought Olivia wanted him to do so because she is madly in love with
him which takes us to another type of madness in the play: love
madness.

Love and loving madly are quite important in Twelfth Night. The
audience can see various examples of being madly in love throughout
the play. Orsino’s “unconditional” love for Olivia is one of them. He
claims to have his “desires like fell and cruel hounds” pursue him
ever since he first saw her. He sends Cesario to “unfold the passion
of [his] love” and “surprise her with discourse of [his] dear faith”.
However, his love turns into “a savage jealousy” and mad anger and
reaches a point where he says “I’ll sacrifice the lamb that...

Find Another Essay On The Importance of Madness as a Theme in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

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...

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...

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

590 words - 2 pages Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare The complex plot - full of mistaken identities, misdirected passions, high comedy, low tricks, and unexpected poignancy - begins as a ship, carrying the identical twins Viola and Sebastian is wrecked off the coast of a fictional country, Illyria. Viola is washed ashore on this alien coast and becomes convinced that her beloved brother is dead. She learns that she...

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

1246 words - 5 pages There’s nothing better than a comedy to lift your spirits up with baskets full of laughter. I like the idea of comedies when there’s a complete misunderstanding, trickery or when things go wrong. For example in one of the episodes of My Wife and Kids when a girl called Claire tells her dad that there will be photograph day in school. So she asks her dad for a massive photograph of her to put on the wall. Her dad said no. On the day of the school...

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare: The Jocular Struggle in Life

2262 words - 9 pages Shakespeare, known for his observations of humanity, creates the Twelfth Night story-line based on love. Regardless of whether love is blind or foolish, it gives humanity a purpose to live for. Akin to a wrapped up present eager to be opened, love is the cryptic feeling that motivates young doters to experience this emotion. However, this infatuation eludes the characters in Twelfth Night from seeing what dolts they have become due to this...

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

1337 words - 5 pages In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare portrays several characters in a controversial way. Some witty characters are portrayed as foolish, and some foolish characters are portrayed as witty. In the beginning of the play, Sir Andrew and Malvolio are presented as smart people; however, as the play progresses, the audience is exposed to their foolish sides. On the other hand, Sir Toby and Feste are portrayed as fools, but as the plot develops the audience...

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

3190 words - 13 pages Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Twelfth night is a comedy play written by William Shakespeare. The entire play revolves around love and ideas of love. The very first line of the play tells us that love will be the main feature: ‘If music be the food of love, play on’. Shakespeare delves deeply into the different facets of love, and explores how each facet is totally different from each other although they all...

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

1051 words - 4 pages Examining Viola's Character in Twelfth Night "I may not be a lion, but I am a lion's cub, and I have a lion's heart" . These words are said by one of the most celebrated and authoritative women in the 16th century Elizabeth I. Even though the authority was at woman's hands at that time, a dominant woman was unnatural in the society itself. The presence of such a powerful female figure creates an interesting situation for dramatists and...

The Pain and Suffering of "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare

1660 words - 7 pages Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night revolves around a love triangle that continually makes twists and turns like a rollercoaster, throwing emotions here and there. The characters love each another, but the common love is absent throughout the play. Then, another character enters the scene and not only confuses everyone, bringing with him chaos that presents many different themes throughout the play. Along, with the emotional turmoil, each character...

The Pain and Suffering of "Twelfth Night" by William Shakespeare

1506 words - 6 pages When Orsino sends Viola-Cesario to woo Olivia in his name, he does not think any more of it. When Viola-Cesario goes to woo Olivia for her master Orsino, she starts to woo her using the first person, referring to ‘me’ and ‘I’, under Olivia’s request. She continues using the first person throughout this wooing, where she tells of Olivia’s beauty and her person through her perspective instead of Orsino’s. This wooing becomes vital to the plot and...

The Outcome of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

4206 words - 17 pages The Outcome of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare The ‘Twelfth Night’ written by William Shakespeare in the Elizabethan era, is a dramatic comedy enriched with a great deal of hurt to accompany scandalous behaviour and shocking deceptions. The comical elements of this play are those which contribute to Elizabethan humour. The principal characters are of a high social status, making any disruption to their life...

Similar Essays

One Theme Of Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare

894 words - 4 pages One of the major themes in the play Twelfth Night by Shakespeare is love. Shakespeare explores love in two dimensions: what is a true love, and what are the different kinds of love. He portrays few types of love: love between family members, between true friends, romantic love, imaginary love and self love.Viola, the protagonist, is capable of true love. Her love for her twin brother is not emphasized in the play, but is clear to the audience....

The Function Of Disguise In Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare

1433 words - 6 pages The Function of Disguise in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare William Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night is based around disguise and deception, both mental and physical. The deception leads to a lot of misunderstanding and subsequently, a lot of humour. The tale begins in Illyria with the Duke Orsino, who is suffering due to his unrequited love for the Lady Olivia. The Lady is also suffering from the recent loss of...

Sexuality In Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare

1522 words - 6 pages In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the young Viola, having once lost her brother in a shipwreck, realizes that dressing up as a boy herself is the best way to continue living and thriving and looking for him. This play shows how much respect Shakespeare had for women more than ever, as Viola can do anything that a man can do. In addition to that, the serving-woman Maria proves herself perfectly capable of tricking Malvolio, enough so to make...

Cruelty In Twelfth Night By William Shakespeare

4189 words - 17 pages Cruelty in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare "Twelfth Night" is also subtitled as "What you Will" which shows that this should be a happy, festive comedy, its title is from the twelve-day cycle of celebration enjoyed by medieval revellers each December. As this is a comedy it means that there are multiple marriages in the final scene and happy endings for most, except maybe one person who is seen as a fool throughout...