Twelfth Night Analysis

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Shakespeare is a famous writer of many plays, such as Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy that takes place in Illyria and incorporates several songs throughout the play. Shakespeare normally assigns the singing roles to characters of lower class and minor personalities, such as servants, clowns, rogues and fools. Major characters never usually sing unless they are in disguise or in distracted mental states. In Twelfth Night, the Fool, who is also known as Feste is in charge of all the songs and he uses music to effectively portray the truth and reality beneath all the acting in the play. The songs are not a reflection of him, but are addressed to the protagonists themselves. Through his use of indirect speech and metaphorical…show more content…
This song is not a song of celebration or delightful feelings; instead it brings the reader back to reality and lessens the hope of a happy ending. Though Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy, it also highlights the theme of death. Nobody ever dies in the play, but it takes on the concept of death, where everything will eventually come to an end. Feste repeats “the rain it raineth ever day” (5.1.385) multiple times throughout this song to suggest that life is unexpected and that the happiness that the characters in Illyria feel can be changed at any moment by the “wind and the rain” (5.1.383). He presents this life cycle and several events showing how once one thing ends another thing begins. It goes through a sequence of events, starting with when he was a little boy and he explains how “foolish thing but a toy” (5.1.384). Feste creates this image of this playful, carefree childhood and goes on to say that through time, he “came to man’s estate” (5.1.386) and “’Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate” (5.1.388). Every person will eventually grow out of their childish lifestyle and discover the cruel and unkind life. The song represents the theme of death, as many things in the play come to an end, such as Orsino and Olivia’s search for a lover or Maria’s prank on Malvolio. Maria, Sir Toby Belch and Feste’s game comes to an end when Olivia realizes that Malvolio is not insane and Malvolio’s happy and fantasized world of…show more content…
Though Feste sings in first person, his song is directed at the rest of the characters and is a metaphor for rejection and betrayal. Feste portrays this wish to die now, as he says “Come away, come away, death, / And in sad cypress let me be laid” (2.4.51-52). He explains how he is the most faithful person, yet he has been “slain by a fair cruel maid” (2.4.54). This reinforces the theme of betrayal and suffering because Feste’s description of pain and sorrow due to a loved one is commonly shown in Twelfth Night. There is this connection between the boy being portrayed in the song and characters in the play. Many of them can relate to the boy, such as Orsino, Olivia and Antonio. Orsino who shares a close relationship with Cesario begins to feel deceived when he realizes that Sebastian, thinking that it is Cesario, has married Olivia. Olivia also experiences a momentary sense of rejection when Cesario denies having married her and she feels as if she has lost him. In both situations, Cesario can be viewed as Orsino and Olivia’s “fair cruel maid” (2.4.54). Antonio also faces his own dark side of rejection when he believes that Sebastian has deceived him after all the things he has done for him. As a result, Feste’s song emphasizes the theme of betrayal, as it reflects the experiences of several of the characters in the play. Furthermore, near the middle of his song he requests that
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