The Fools in Twelfth Night Essay

1098 Words5 Pages
The Fools of Twelfth Night It is not unusual that the fool should be a prominent figure and make an important contribution in forming the confusion and the humor in an Elizabethan drama. In William Shakespeare's comedy, Twelfth Night, Feste the clown is not the only fool who is subject to foolery. He and many other characters combine their silly acts and wits to invade other characters that either escape reality or live a dream. In Twelfth Night, Feste, Maria and Sir Toby are the fools that make the comedy work in many senses. In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Feste's role in this Illyrian comedy is significant because "Illyria is a country permeated with the spirit of the Feast of Fools, where identities are…show more content…
Although he does not make any profound remarks, he seems to be the wisest person of all the characters in the comedy. Viola remarks this by saying, "This fellow's wise enough to play the fool"(III.i.61). Since Feste is a licensed fool, his main role in Twelfth Night is to speak the truth. This is where the humor lies, his truthfulness. In one example he proves Olivia to be a true fool by asking her what she was mourning about. The point Feste tried to make was that Olivia was mourning for a person whose soul is in heaven. CLOWN: Good Madonna, why mourn'st thou? OLIVIA: Good Fool, for my brother's death. CLOWN: I think his soul is in hell, Madonna. OLIVIA: I know his soul is in heaven, fool. CLOWN: The more fool, Madonna, to mourn for your brother's soul, being in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen (act #, scene #, line 3). Adding to the humor of the comedy, Feste dresses up as Sir Topaz, the curate and visits the imprisoned Malvolio with Maria and Sir Toby. There he uses his humor to abuse Malvolio who is still unaware that he is actually talking to the clown rather than to the real Sir Topaz. Feste (disguised as Sir Topaz) calls Malvolio a "lunatic" (IV.ii.23), "Satan"(IV.ii.32) and confuses him by wittingly making him a fool. Throughout the play, Malvolio has always been the person who intentionally spoils the pleasure of other people. He is Feste's worst nightmare in the play, but in
Open Document