Twelfth Night, By William Shakespeare Essay

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 acknowledges their wisdom. Malvolio and Sir Andrew’s foolish sides are exposed because of their gullible nature, while Feste and Sir Toby’s wisdom is revealed through their insightful remarks and brilliant prank ideas.
The author uses convincing dialogue to illustrate Sir Andrew, and Malvolio as witty characters. With the same great expertise, he transforms those characters and exposes their foolishness to the viewers. Sir Andrew is one of the many thoughtless brains in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. In the beginning of the play, he was recognized for speaking “three or four languages word for word without book” but later on, Shakespeare unleashes Sir Andrew’s gullible nature (I.iii.24). For instance, when Sir Toby was going back and forth between Cesario and Sir Andrew, delivering false threats, Sir Andrew became extremely frightened and said “pox on ‘t! I’ll not meddle with him” (III. Iv.252). Malvolio impresses the audience with his presentable and well-mannered etiquette. He is described as the naive goody two shoes. However, the audience was able to view his gullible side, when he received a prank love letter, and transformed himself into an air-headed fool dressed up in yellow stockings. Despite his sharp and smart looks in the beginning, he turned out to be a complete chump. Even though both characters make a great first impression on the readers, Sir Andrew and Malvolio turn out to be the dullest tools in the shed.
Appearances can be deceiving, just as Feste and Sir Toby are often misunderstood. Both characters are considered jesters, and are looked down upon throughout the play. As the plot develops, Feste’s cunning speeches and Sir Toby’s bright ideas, defy the original image created in the viewer’s minds. Feste’s cunning adages are seen earlier in the play when Olivia threatens him. He cleverly responds to her threat by saying “He that is well hanged in this world needs to fear no colors” (I.v.4). Sir Toby may appear to the audience as a crazy old drunk; however, the reader is able to catch a glimpse of his intelligence when he devises the brilliant and successful prank ideas. Shakespeare portrays these characters as fools in the beginning, but as the play progresses the reader is able to sense their wisdom.
Quote: “The fool shall look to the madman” (I.v.125)
After pondering this statement, one can feel the strong irony it encompasses. The reader gets confused after reading this statement because logically, two people of the same negative status cannot be able to take care of one another....

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