attitudes towards individual choice and personal desire, or as the play puts it, ‘will’” (Malcolmson 163). Although Twelfth Night is a story of love and courtship, nevertheless, it is also a “comedy of gender,” because of its ability to override the traditional Elizabethan notions of the female role through the characters of Viola and Olivia.
The date of the composition of Twelfth Night is fixed around 1600 “during a period before a woman’s place was imagined as separate sphere, since, for the…
Of course, in reality, Viola and Sebastian were being confused. The main plot of Twelfth Night revolves around the cause of such confusion resulting in disillusioned and self-deceived characters.
The main plot of the play involves twins of the opposite sex who are separated during a tragic shipwreck, each believing the other to be dead. The female, Viola, disguises herself as male and serves in the love-sick Duke Orsino's Court, where 'Tis said no woman may approach his court.' Orsino then uses…
characters seem to go to ultimate
extremes to obtain the love they desire. At the core of the play, is
the love triangle between Olivia, Viola and Orsino adding suspense,
comedy and drama.
Friendship is a kind of love expressed in "Twelfth Night." The biggest
and closest friendship would have to be between Orsino and Cesario.
They barely knew each other at first, and before long Orsino was
telling Cesario his inner love for Olivia. He even had Cesario running
detectives Tommy and Tuppence, it evident that comedic characters have always been appreciated and acknowledged in literature. Sir Toby Belch is but one of the many amusing characters found today 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…
significance and this is certainly true for 'Twelfth
Night'. Viola's plans for disguising herself in Act 1 scene 2
introduce one of the main motifs of the play: disguise and the
identity confusion related to it. Similarly, Orsino's mournful speech
in Act 1 scene 1 indicates that the play will deal with matters of
love, emotion, desire and rejection. Put together, the two scenes
suggest the extra twist that is the hallmark of 'Twelfth Night':
mistaken gender identity. In this…
force passionate love for Olivia that it is not as sweet and fulfilling as it should be if it was genuine true love. This theme goes throughout the play and even comically plays out in Olivia’s forged love for Malvolio. Any type of false love in Twelfth Night comes to a crash landing at the end.
Viola also associates music with the major theme of love and connection in the scene of her first appearance in the play in Act I Scene ii. Viola’s plan is to be presented to Orsino as a eunuch. She tells…
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…
Night’ is referring to the twelfth night after Christmas, Epiphany.
Today, the Twelfth Night after Christmas means the day we take down
the decorations, but back in 1600 when the play was written it had a
different meaning. Epiphany was a time for celebrating and partying.
People used to have parties on Twelfth Night and it was traditional to
play practical jokes at this time. These included tricks such as
hiding live birds in an empty pie case, so that they…
If the play calls for a young female character then I am more likely to follow along when a female actor is playing that role. On the contrary, I would be distracted focusing on the male actor trying to portray a female role. In all versions of Twelfth Night, however, the roles are so convoluted that it is difficult to say which would be more believable: Viola/Cesario played by a female actress or male actor. For example, in Nunn’s film, the scene where Orsino is in the tub and asks young Cesario…
In Reality in a Looking Glass, a comprehensive historical study of fools and their roles in medieval and modern society, Anton C. Zijderveld describes and classifies the types of traditional medieval fools. Feste, the most obvious of Twelfth Night's fools, belongs to a class of jesters which, according to Zijderveld, "were ... in full command of their wits.... They played at being foolish, often with much wit and ingenuity" (92); as Feste himself proclaims, "I wear not motley in my…
different then lust, and was also present through out the play. True love is obviously one of the strongest forms of love and is an extremely powerful emotion that one would perhaps do many things for. Shakespeare showed various forms of true love in twelfth night especially through Viola (Cesario) and Orsino. Even though Orsino did not know it, Olivia was falling in love with him. She saw qualities in him that she appreciated and liked. Unlike lust, true love is usually developed, and grows stronger…
is Shakespeare's last romantic comedy. The comedies which
followare much darker. Twelfth Night embodies many of the themes from his earlier comedies. For
instance, he employed the device of having a woman fall in love with another woman disguised as a
man. In some ways, Twelfth Night can be termed Shakespeare's apology to Phebe.
Whereas Rosalind dominates As You Like it, we have many centers of interest in Twelfth Night.
Orsino continues the theme of overly idealistic love we have seen in Orlando…
have a romantic relationship; and/or a warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion” (Webster). It is difficult to decipher an exact meaning of love or situation where love is shown since this word has such a broad definition. In Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, love is expressed frequently and in quite a specific way. Particularly, throughout this play, Shakespeare acknowledges three types of love: true love, love for one’s self, and friendship. Many fall victim to the skewed perception of love when…
themselves with the trappings of love; flowers, music, symbols of love
(hearts) and much more. This would make them believe that they were in
love when actually they just loved the idea of it. One such a man is
Orsino in the play Twelfth Night.
The second type of love is called ‘Romantic love’. This is where
someone surrounds themselves with the trappings of love. They
constantly sigh and dream of their loved one, with all the trappings
encouraging the longing for…
Much of the first half of the Twelfth Night is about disguised identities and general misconceptions about who is actually who. The play opens on a note of melancholy and death, Orsino grieving because Olivia refuses to love him and Viola and Olivia mourning the deaths of their brothers. It is following a shipwreck that Viola disguises herself as a male, ensuring that confusion will be part of the plot. The idea of masquerading as a member of the opposite sex is a familiar device and the “complications…
In Twelfth Night, the fools are the ones that control the comedy and humor in the play. They assist in the make believe game and fool around with characters who "evade reality or rather realize a dream". In Twelfth Night, Feste, Maria and Sir Toby are the fools that make the comedy work in many senses. They create the confusion through humor and it all works out in the end to make William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night a comical play of his time and today. In Twelfth Night, the clown and the fools are…
Duke Orsino is not put off by
this but is rather impressed that Olivia is a woman who "hath a heart
of that fine frame. To pay this debt of love but to a brother"
Viola develops a love for Orsino who ironically thinks her a man named
Cesario. There are many examples of her feelings for Orsino throughout
the play. The first when she talks in soliloquy declaring her
surprised but definite feelings for him: "Yet a barful strife! Whoe'er
I woo, myself would be his wife."…
fifth and final act the love between Orsino and Viola is now
possible because viola reveals that she is in fact a woman and not the
male page Cesario.
Twelfth Night In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, it is clearly evident
that the fluctuation in attitude to the dual role and situation and
tribulations imposed upon the character of Viola/Cesario ends up in a
better understanding of both sexes, and thus, allows…
Love, thus, cannot conquer all
obstacles, and those whose desires go unfulfilled remain no less in
love but feel the sting of its absence all the more severely.
Feste’s first song in Act II, scene iii, firstly sums up the love
triangle between Orsino, Olivia and Viola. He sings, "O mistress mine,
where are you roaming?" This line shows that the fool knows the truth:
that Orsino, Olivia and Viola are all searching for their true love.
In the second verse, Feste explains…
The first act in scene reveals to the audience much detailed
information about Orsino and Olivia, the two main protagonists. The
opening of this scene is situated in the Duke Orsino's palace. Orsino
is the duke of Illyria, where this romantic comedy is located. Orsino
is very dilapidated and in a depressing low state, as he is seriously
love sick. He is intensely in love with Olivia a rich countess " O
when mine eyes did see olivia first, methought she purg'd the air of…
Similarly, a playwright "dressed up" his ideas in performance, by having actors and actresses show, rather than simply tell them.
In four of the seven scenes he appears in, he sings, which makes other characters praise him and marvel at his talent. He sings about love to Sir Toby and Sir Andrew in 2.3.35-48 as well as with them at 2.3.64; he sings a "silly sooth" about the pains of love to Orsino in 2.4.50-65; he sings a traditional song appropriate to Malvolio's illusion of love to attract…
The poetry and music, the use of
rich, sensuous imagery of beauty and nature, set a romantic tone of
the play. This can be seen evidently from how he begins with ‘If music
be the food of love, play on’. This line creates a mood that is
suitable for what he is talking about – love. In addition, scene 1 is
the introduction scene, in which we can gather many first impressions,
be it for the characters, or the theme of the play. Hence, from scene
1, our first impression is…
This is not the only way in which disguise is used in Twelfth Night,
it is also used to create comedy. The Lady Olivia's uncle Sir Toby
Belch is always being foolish with his friends: Sir Andrew Aguecheek
and Maria, the maid. Malvolio, Olivia's steward is forever telling
them to stop fooling about and Toby, Andrew and Maria take their
revenge by playing a trick on him. Maria disguises her handwriting as
Olivia's as their handwriting is very similar:
'I can write very…
In Twelfth Night, the protagonist of the story, Viola, is displayed as
a rational, sacrificial, sincere, strong, witty woman, who disguises
herself as a man, to become a faithful attendant of Orsino. Viola is
one with sacrificial and patient love, willingly loving Orsino, and
attending to his every need. Orsino, on the other hand, is shown as an
emotional man, who has superficial and transient love for Olivia. This
love is very abruptly shifted to Viola at the end of the play…
The Duke has little to no patience and Feste tries to make him aware of this flaw. Feste believes that people are better off due to their enemies and worse because of their friends. He explains that a person's enemy will tell them the truth, where a person's friend will lie to them and not make them aware of a personal flaw they may have. Orsino displays his short patience through his obsession with Olivia. He sends Cesario, his messenger, to Olivia's house daily to try to win her love over.…
was a puritan and that is why his behaviour is so contrasting to that
of all the other characters in this play, "Dost thou think, because
thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
When Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night in 1623 it was essentially ahead
of its time because the Malvolio-based sub-plot foreshadowed the
conflict of the Civil War in the next century. I believe that the
opinions of the Puritans in general are expressed through Malvolio…
move beyond gender.
Just as Viola permeates gender boundaries, Olivia, Toby, Orsino, and Malvolio's love interests lead them across class lines--another example of the ways in which standards are relaxed or social codes reversed during Twelfth Night. Olivia spurns the love of her social equal Orsino (who many critics find to be more in love with love than he is with the "marble-breasted tyrant") and lights instead on the Duke's page. Sir Toby admires Olivia's waiting-gentlewoman Maria rather…
to be a man. This would have cause great hilarity among
I believe that Shakespeare was aware of the comic effect this would
cause and used it to its full advantage. If you were to see a
production of Twelfth Night at a theatre, you will see that they have
retained this use of all-male actors, which adds a whole new dimension
to the play.
Let us now look at another character, Marvolio, who puts on a mental
disguise to become someone he's…
puritans, so I would think that this play appealed
to the audience because it was digging at something they hated and
because the play was nearly a comedy the audience would have loved the
chance of laughing at Malvolio.
In the play twelfth night Malvolio is stereotyped to be 'an empty
character' just for the fact that he is a puritan. Also in other
Shakespearean plays, like 'The Merchant Of Venice' shylock is also
stereo typed to be full of greed just for the fact that he…
verse” (As You Like It, Act III scene ii, lines 154-171). Moreover, though Duke Senior and Jacque show no signs of aggression, Orlando allows his youthful impetuousness to guide him and approaches their banquet in a hostile manner. Duke Orsino of Twelfth Night, or What You Will leaves much to be desired as well. The play begins with the Duke love-sick over Olivia:
If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it, that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die
. . . . . .…
other. They believed deep down that maybe someway or by some miracle that each of them was still alive and well.
Many people, even in today's society, love themselves more then anything else or in other words lead a rather egocentric existence. "Twelfth Night" addresses the issue of self love and how it affects people’s lives. Malvolio is the easiest to identify with the problem of self love. He sees himself as a handsome and noble man, even if others do not share this opinion. Malvolio believes…
appears to be many colours
and he is suggesting that the Dukes mind is very changeable.
And of Sir Andrew
"For what says Quinapalus?
Better a witty fool than a foolish wit".
Since Feste is a licensed fool his main role in Twelfth Night is to
speak the truth. He proves Olivia to be a true fool when he takes her
to task for the time she intends to spend in mourning for a person
whose soul is in heaven.
Although he plays the fool he is not a fool and Viola is…
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…
make distinction of our hands."
"Sir Toby: He shall think, by the letters that thou wilt drop, that
they come from my niece, and that she's in love with him." (Act 2
Scene 3, Line 131)
Most of William Shakespeare's humour in "Twelfth Night" is from a
comic device called dramatic irony. For example,
"By my life, this is my lady's hand!"…
essence of Malvolio’s personality is ascertained by Maria when she describes him as a Puritan (INSERT QUOTE). In the Elizabethan era, Puritans were stereotypically associated with being kill-joys and an excessive hatred of theatre.
Maria is one of Twelfth Night’s characters whose superior intellect seemingly clashes with her social standing…
then marries Julina.
Although some time passes between their one-nighter and their marriage, one understands the sudden marriage of Silvio and Julina. He at least knows her name and knows her in the biblical sense before they marry. In Twelfth Night, Sebastian marries Olivia without knowing her name or having even seen her previous to this day!-unless something has happened between them after Olivia broke up the duel. Harold Bloom, while calling Viola a "repressed vitalist," thinks…
Maria and the conspirators decide to mislead Malvolio into thinking that Olivia is in love with him. Maria decides to lead him on by writing a letter, but means to be from Olivia. This love letter is meant to instruct Malvolio to do actions that Olivia despises. Maria is able to mislead Malvolio because she has the same print and seal as Olivia. Shakespeare is able to trick the characters and create many portrayals of them.
The mistaken identity in this play is related to the prevalence of disguises…
She says that he is, "sick of self love."
Malvolio's reaction to this statement shows one of three possible
things about his character. Either he has enough self control to
simply say nothing, demonstrating the traditional, astute, hard faced,
and faithful servant Malvolio, or it could be used to show his
complete, blissful isolation from the outer world, too busy wallowing
in the self love that Olivia was talking about, or finally, and my
personal choice, Malvolio could…
Sir Toby then tells Malvolio to go hang himself. From this example we can see that Malvolio’s adherence to the rules makes him a target for Sir Toby to poke fun at. It is this adherence to the rules that makes Malvolio a perfect character for members of the audience to either sympathize with or to join Sir Toby in poking fun at him.
Next up is the power that Malvolio was given by Olivia. After Malvolio attempted to break up Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria’s fun, they began to plot against him. Malvolio…
And so adieu, good madam."
Orsino's love, however, is a courtly love. He claims to be in love with Olivia but seems rather to be in love with the idea of love and the behavior of a lover. Orsino is a Petrachan lover who chooses an object that will not return his love. Because he is not ready for commitment, he courts Olivia in a formal way. By sending his messengers to her house instead of going himself, he does not have to speak to her directly. Early in the play, Viola realises that Orsino's…
Maria then asks why it's
good to be tall, which Toby responds to by exclaiming,
"Why, he has 3000 ducats a year."
as though this is a perfect reason to compliment somebody's height -
the fact that they earn a lot of money every year. Toby says this
because he enjoys Andrew's riches, and uses it as a source for his
drinking. Maria says exactly what they both believe but Toby Belch
obviously feels obliged to defend his "friend", eventually though Sir
would also recognise that Malvolio is not of noble blood and a
noblewomen, like Olivia, would not marry below her status. They would
find it quite amusing that Malvolio would even think that marrying
Olivia is possible and would enjoy Malvolio disguising the
Shakespearean class system from himself. The language Malvolio uses
while daydreaming about Olivia, emphasise his self-importance: He
repeatedly uses the words ‘I’, ‘Me’ and ‘My’ eg:…
Tell her my love, more noble than the world,...
‘tis that miracle and queen of gems
That nature pranks her in attracts my soul (2.4, 81-87).
In this quote, Orsino clearly states that Olivia is cruel to him, yet his love for her is because of her beauty.
When Viola comes into Orsino’s life, we can begin to see a small shift in Orsino’s thoughts of love as Viola tells him her views. Orsino fully trusts Viola/Cesario as he tells her to go to Olivia and pursue her for him. Orsino states, “I…
Among the multitudinous biblical references to love, the most comprehensive and decisive assessment of true love comes in St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians. He begins by stating that despite all of his faith and gifts from God, "if I have no love, I am nothing." (I Cor. 13:2) Clearly, Paul recognizes the importance of love. He goes on to define love in very explicit terms, telling both what love is and what it is not. Paul begins, "Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited…
also fallen in love with Cesario/Viola who is a servant, which was not
thought of as appropriate for noble women, Olivia did not care what
other people thought, again, showing her strength of character.
Olivia refused Duke Orsino’s love, this would have been very hard to
do as Orsino is the duke of Illyria, he is the perfect husband as he
is noble, of great estate, valiant, gracious, physically good looking,
learned and free, he would have been what every women…
"Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,".
Orsino compares his love to the sea, and says that it's much bigger
than a anything else could possibly be and like the sea, when u drop
something into it, it just disappears, just as he sees his love for
Olivia is, nothing will make a difference to it. The hyperbole he uses
in his speech could be Shakespeare's way of showing us how sure and
full of himself Orsino is, exuding arrogance in something like love,
which is supposed…
and doesn't join in with the fun and games. I
think this association would have made it easier to laugh at Malvolio
when he is picked on by the other characters and locked up unfairly by
"Let this fellow be looked to"
Twelfth Night, like many other Shakespeare comedies, has both a main
plot and a sub plot. The main plot is the story of Viola/Cesario,
Orsino and Olivia and their love-triangle.
"My master loves her dearly;
And I, poor monster, fond as…
changing gender definitions could be displayed, deplored, or enforced” (Rackin 29). Commentary channeled by the imaginative device of theater impacts the reality of everyday life, thus carrying great weight and responsibility. Particularly, the comedies Twelfth Night , As You Like It , and The Merchant of Venice , though performed within a short time span, provide varied examples of a woman's use of cross-dressing in response to society's patriarchal constraints. All effectively comment on the weaknesses…
Viola is disconcerted at being confused with Sebastian in Twelfth Night's final acts, but this confusion is not one plotted by men. She and Beatrice remain two of Shakespeare's few undeceived women.
Beatrice lives the jocular life of a bachelor man, but will not take on the "man's office" of killing Claudio. In the same way, Viola wishes to retain the freedom and anonymity that life as a man grants her, but balks when it comes to drawing swords. Both attempt rely on the subtler feminine…
whose ‘love’ is not sacrificial at all!
The ‘love’ he has for Olivia should actually be defined as infatuation
because his love is simply not sacrificial and true love is the total
opposite as true love is very sacrificial.
Twelfth Night is also at the same time a play where mostly all the
women are witty and intelligent. Even the female…