This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Twelfth Night Essay

1478 words - 6 pages

‘Twelfth Night’ or ‘What You Will’ falls into the subgenre of festive comedy as the festival spirit turns the normal hierarchies of the social sphere upside down and unacceptable behaviour becomes acceptable (as established by Barber in 'Shakespeare's Festive Comedy'). In ‘Twelfth Night’ the character Feste attacks authoritative figures, during the Christmas period which is seen as the starting point for comedies as suggested by Barber. Through Feste’s comic figure, he can be seen as a mock mayor since he often makes absurd declarations aimed at Olivia and Orsino. He points out that Olivia's excessive mourning is over-indulgent and ‘fool[ish]’ and notes Duke Orsino's extreme moodiness ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, this suggests that Malvolio is part of Northtrop Frye’s old world as he dislikes acts that go against Puritanism. Additionally, as Malvolio is a puritan he disapproves of Sir Toby’s inclination to drink which is why he put an end to such behaviour. Despite putting an end to the comic characters behaviour, Malvolio was a victim of a practical joke, since he has been ‘notoriously abus’d’ as stated by Lady Olivia in Act 5 Scene 1 and has suffered in a manner that is disproportionate to his crimes. As Malvolio has been notoriously ‘abus’d’ it indicates that he hasn’t only been mocked, but has been shamefully misused in an extreme manner which may lead to a sympathetic audience response. Furthermore, the result of the mockery which Malvolio faces is shown in the resolution as he says that ‘I’ll be reveng’d on the whole pack of you!’ . Here Malvolio’s last words are seen as a threat to Feste and the rest of the comic characters, but is also seen as a disruption to the play’s comic resolution as he is not granted his ideal ending which would have suited the genre of comedy. However, the threat aimed at the unruly characters, goes against the Puritan values as vengeance is a classification of wrath and is perceived as being one of the seven deadly sins. Furthermore, his name also suggests that he is a person of ill will as the prefix Mal in Malvolio means ‘bad’ which suggests that the character Malvolio was constructed in a way where he is portrayed as being a hypocrite. Therefore, Malvolio’s behaviour causes ‘Twelfth Night’ to be seen as a comedy that conveys serious social messages.
Similarly, like Malvolio, Orsino and Olivia are constructed to take themselves seriously, which is seen as a feature of dramatic comedy. Although both characters are authoritative figures, Shakespeare presents them in a way that they appear as foolish individuals. Orsino can be seen as being foolish in Act 1 Scene 1 when he thinks that ‘music [may] be the food of love’ and can cause ones love to increase. Likewise, in Act 1 Scene 5 Olivia's excessive mourning ‘for [her] brother’s death’ is seen by Feste as being over-indulgent and ‘fool[ish]’. As both characters portray traits of gluttony through their emotions, Shakespeare is suggesting that they are only seen as authoritative figures because of their title and not their behaviour. Furthermore, as Olivia fell in love with Cesario, a servant, and Orsino married Viola who was a servant, elements of authority can be seen since both characters emotions were entwined with low status characters. Therefore, Shakespeare considers the comparability of men and women as he considers the comparability of servants to masters since ‘Viola’s relationship with Orsino includes both that of a woman to a man and that of servant to master’ . In addition, the relationship that ‘Viola has with Orsino mirrors Malvolio’s relationship with Olivia’ . As this is the case, it suggests that marriage is conservative as both...

Find Another Essay On Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night Essay

1778 words - 7 pages Twelfth Night:Scene i: The setting is the foreign land of Illyria, and the play opens at the palace of the youthful Duke Orsino as he speaks in lyrical but melancholy verse about his love for a beautiful countess, Olivia. A messenger arrives with bad news for the Duke: Olivia has rejected his marriage proposal, saying that she wishes to enter into a period of seclusion following the death of her brother. This vow only adds to the Duke's

Twelfth Night (Play Review)

448 words - 2 pages RATING>> A DULL 4 out of 10 SWORDS On Thursday, March 10, the Newman Players presented Shakespeare's Twelfth Night for the last time at the STM Auditorium. The directors Thora Gudmundson and Nicole Roy attempted to take the Twelfth Night and set it in "an illustrious (and fictitious) Hollywood movie studio in 1939" (in class handout), and, for the most part, were successful.If one were planning to attend this play, I would suggest reading

willam shakespeare: Twelfth Night

803 words - 4 pages William Shakespeare wrote a satirical comedy, Twelfth Night in the 16th century. The date is not for certain but it was right around the same time he wrote Hamlet. Twelfth Night is widely famous today for being a Transvestite comedy meaning characters are cross dressing. William Shakespeare’s, Twelfth Night, plunges into a state of widespread misperception and disorderly behavior, the power of love rescues the unruly characters from the chaos

Analysis of "Twelfth Night"

884 words - 4 pages 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

Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

1744 words - 7 pages Shakespeare's Twelfth Night A study of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, showing how Shakespeare's choice of form, structure and language shape meaning Wit, and't be thy will, put me into good fooling! Those wits that think they have thee do very oft prove fools; and I that am sure I lack thee may pass for a wise man. For what says Quinapalus? 'Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.' Shakespeare's plays were written to be

Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

1820 words - 8 pages face, thy limbs, actions and spirit, Do give thee five-fold blazon: not too fast:
soft, soft!
Unless the master were the man. How now!
Even so quickly may one catch the plague?” (1.5.48). Love can be many things; confusing, happy, and painful. Love isn't always straightforward; lust and love are usually mixed up. Its not always full of joy, it can hurt when love isn't returned like in William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, he expresses that

William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

699 words - 3 pages William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night In 'Twelfth Night' Olivia's trusted steward Malvolio, like Sir Andrew, is the 'butt of comedy'. His very name suggests 'ill-will', which echoes his role in the play. Malvolio is an egotistical, "overweening rogue", who is a straight laced, puritanical, social climbing rebuker of others for their anti-social and often sinful behaviour, or as he put it, "misdemeanours". Malvolio's

Twelfth night 2

1278 words - 5 pages The roles of Malvolio and Sir Toby in Twelfth Night In Twelfth Night, the contrasting roles of Malvolio and Sir Toby Belch help the play develop to the fullest possible extent. In one respect, the two characters work as purely comedic players, bringing joy to the audience in the form of drunkenness and pranks. But beyond the lighter surface of the play lies a deeper meaning: Toby and Malvolio have very different views of life. The divergent

Twelfth Night and Pygmalion

2555 words - 10 pages The play Twelfth Night is set in a Elizabethan country household in a place called Illyria. Illyria is a fictional place. Although the setting felt familiar to the audience, the name Illyria gave it a feeling of escape from reality, something that was important because everyday life could be tough in those days. The people needed an escape from reality sometimes. In this play we meet the upper class, as well as the lower class. It is not

Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

1418 words - 6 pages In the play Twelfth Night Viola’s disguise is a prime example of Feste’s line in the play “nothing that/ is so is so” (4.1.6-7). Everything is not as it seems, this is shown through Viola’s disguise as “Cesario” which causes issues of mistaken identities throughout the play. Viola’s disguise becomes a problem for the Duke, Orsino because he actually trusts her, and believes that she is truly a man. Another character who is affected by Viola’s

Music in Twelfth Night

1332 words - 5 pages Critics call Twelfth Night one of William Shakespeare’s most poetic and musical plays. Shakespeare writes poetic lines for the major characters, Viola, Orsino, and Olivia, and gives the Fool, and other minor characters, songs to sing throughout the play. The particularly romantic lines of the play make it seem as if the characters are professional poets themselves. Shakespeare also uses the music and poetry in Twelfth Night to foreshadow what is

Similar Essays

Twelfth Night Essay

833 words - 3 pages 'Twelfth Night' EssayTheme of LoveIn 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 many love triangles, however many of the characters who are

Twelfth Night Essay

1367 words - 6 pages ‘Twelfth Night’ or ‘What You Will’ falls into the subgenre of festive comedy. The character Feste attacks authoritative figures during the last days of the Christmas period. As Feste is seen as a mock mayor he often makes absurd declarations aimed at Orsino and Olivia who are surrounded by the emotion of love. However, as this play takes place in the festive period it lacks seriousness which also reflects the decisions that Orsino and Olivia

Twelfth Night Essay 1498 Words

1498 words - 6 pages The character of Malvolio is treated too cruelly for Twelfth Night to be classed as a comedy. Malvolio is constantly humiliated and has some major elements of a tragic character. The revenge served to him is extremist and not an equal reaction to his behaviour. The treatment of Malvolio within the play dominates comedy and displays the harsh reality of revenge, retaliation and humiliation. Sir Toby and Maria show carelessness for his person

Twelfth Night Essay 3617 Words

3617 words - 14 pages Vatsal GandhiProfessor SohwardyEnglish Drama to 1642May 1, 2014Different Stretches of DisguiseOftentimes playwrights utilize particular elements to emphasize certain aspects of their play. In this case disguise provokes confusion and creates a space in which social boundaries are suspended. When identities are concealed, characters face an unsurpassed freedom to test the limitations of their power in courtship. In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare has