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The Ways in Which Shakespeare Entertains his Audience in Twelfth Night

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The Ways in Which Shakespeare Entertains his Audience in Twelfth Night

One of the main themes throughout Twelfth Night is that of confusion

and mistaken identity. This is illustrated mainly by Viola as Cesario,

confusing all of the characters into thinking that she is a man. The

only people that know of her true identity (apart from the sea captain

at the very beginning) are the audience. This makes it more enjoyable

and entertaining for the audience as they know exactly what is going

on and can see the comedy in the plot as it thickens. This links to

the other main theme of the play, that of entertainment and comic

characters. This is illustrated through Sir Toby Belch; who is quite

clever and enjoys playing tricks on people such as Sir Andrew

Aguecheek and Malvolio who are less intelligent and more unaware of

their humorous characteristics.

The scene in which Sir Toby and Maria trick Malvolio into thinking

that Olivia is in love with him is a good example of a humorous and

entertaining scene.

"Observe him, for the love of mockery, for I know this letter will

make a complete idiot of him"

Malvolio, although he is a servant, often looks down on Sir Toby as if

he is better than him.

"Is there no respect of place, persons, nor time in you?"

This is obviously one of the reasons that Sir Toby dislikes Malvolio

and enjoys playing tricks on him, but is also an example of the

hierarchy being turned upside down. This is something which

Shakespeare's audiences would have associated with twelfth night, a

time of misrule and abandonment of the rules, of fun and confusion.

These are all highlighted throughout the play, meaning t...

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...lways entertaining for the audience.

There are many examples; Viola's disguise, love triangles and

(particularly at the end), characters changing who they love quickly.

I think that the ending of the play is very effective. Shakespeare

manages to combine the two plots for the first time by creating a

humorous sense of confusion between the main characters as they

discover the secrets about each other,

"So comes it, lady you have been mistook"

something which until then had only been a part of the sub plot. This

is satisfying and entertaining for the audience as the characters find

out the things which they had had hidden from them. This coming

together and the ending of the chaos is also symbolic as it represents

the end of the holiday season as the rules come back into place and

everything returns to normal.
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