Analysis of "Twelfth Night" Essay

Analysis of "Twelfth Night" Essay

Length: 671 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


William Shakespeare, arguably the most important writer in all of English
Literature, is certainly the most influential playwright of the English Renaissance. Born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon in rural northern England, he was the son of a middle class glove maker. Competing against such illustrious company as Christopher Marlowe and Ben Johnson, Shakespeare quickly became one of the most popular playwrights in the city of London, and a favourite of the monarch, the powerful Queen Elizabeth I. Shakespeare wrote thirty-eight plays. "Twelfth Night" was written near the middle of Shakespeare' career, around 1601, and most critics consider it as one of his greatest comedies.

"Twelfth Night" is about illusion, deception, disguises, madness and the consequences of love. In the final scene of the play, all the confusion and complexities that have occurred are resolved. This excerpt deals with the subplot of the story; relating Malvolio's love for Olivia and the trick and humiliation orchestrated on him, steward to Olivia.

Thus, we can wonder, what is the dramatic significance of this extract within the play as a whole?

To begin with, the argument will be focused on the concept of "madness." Then, the paper will illustrate the limits of a comic conception of life through this excerpt.

"Twelfth Night" addresses the issue of self-love and how it affects people lives, leading them to a state of madness. In that sense, Malvolio is the easiest to identify with the problem of self-love By seeing himself as a handsome and noble man, he believed that many women would love to be with him. He asked Olivia (v. 351): "Why you have given me such clear lights of favour,...this in an obedient hope", this could be justified by the f...


... middle of paper ...


...ino takes on Viola as his "Mistress, and his fancy's Queen."

As a result, it is arguably that in this extract "madness" occupies a central place. The reason of this "madness" was mainly due to the power of love, but in the case of Malvolio, we noticed that it is not only love, but self-love as well, which caused his madness, leading to humiliation. However, it is important to highlight the meaning of the title "Twelfth Night", referring to the end of Christmas festivity, often associated with Carnaval. It was a time for pleasure, drinking, food, festivity, thus, the social life order was turned upside down, serious issues and events were mingled with revelry and apparent madness.

"Twelfth Night" is a comedy, which seems to end happily. Notwithstanding, through this extract, it is obvious that Shakespeare puts forwards the limits of a comic conception of life.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Viola as Cesario Faces The Greatest Challenges In The Play Twelfth Night

- The play twelfth night, though largely a comedy, has it's fair share of challenges and obstacles which it's characters face throughout the plot. These revolve around love, honour and the death and loss of loved ones. However one character stands out to me as having faced the most difficult and trying of challenges, yet emerged with her pride and dignity intact. She coped well with all the problems that were thrown at her with a quiet resilience far beyond her years, and is worthy of our admiration....   [tags: Character Analysis Twelfth Night Shakespeare]

Free Essays
1070 words (3.1 pages)

Analysis of Twelfth Night Essay

- Analysis of Twelfth Night The story starts out with a shipwreck and two siblings, Sebastian and Viola, being separated because of it. Viola and Sebastian are almost identical twins. If it wasn’t for their dress and attitude, they could not be known apart – despite they are of opposite sex. The captain, and a few others onboard the ship, survive the crash and they saved Viola and brought her to shore. The captain of the vessel reassures Viola that her brother may be alive since he saw him get onto a mast before the wind swept him out of view....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
889 words (2.5 pages)

Essay Analysis of Malvolio in the Twelfth Night by Shakespeare

- The character of Malvolio is treated too cruelly for Twelfth Night to be classed as a comedy. Malvolio is constantly humiliated and has some of the major elements of a tragic character. The revenge served to him is extremist and is not an equal reaction to his behavior. Malvolio's puritan nature and extreme unwillingness to be social with his peers upsets certain characters more than others. Sir Toby and Maria show carelessness for his person as he has a strict adherence to rules, contrasting with their blatant disregard for rules and discipline this is conveyed through the line “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” Sir Toby mocks Malvolio's pur...   [tags: play, revenge, behavior, irony]

Good Essays
1148 words (3.3 pages)

Analysis of "Twelfth Night" Essay

- William Shakespeare, arguably the most important writer in all of English Literature, is certainly the most influential playwright of the English Renaissance. Born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon in rural northern England, he was the son of a middle class glove maker. Competing against such illustrious company as Christopher Marlowe and Ben Johnson, Shakespeare quickly became one of the most popular playwrights in the city of London, and a favourite of the monarch, the powerful Queen Elizabeth I....   [tags: European Literature]

Good Essays
671 words (1.9 pages)

Twelve Nights Of Failure: Would Sir Andrew Succeed in 2014? Essay

- “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” (Winston Churchill). Truth be told, Sir Andrew’s equation does not consist of enduring enthusiasm. But Sir Andrew is a man who is very well acquainted with the people of Illyria and the modern readers of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night as an unintelligent, craven and arrogant fool of a knight who would absolutely not find any success if he were to live in 2014. It is very clear to anyone that Sir Andrew Aguecheek was put in Twelfth Night to comically please Shakespeare’s audience....   [tags: Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, character analysis]

Good Essays
1081 words (3.1 pages)

Character Analysis of Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare´s Twelfth Night Essay

- Comedy is by far the most influential factor in deciding whether or not a story is entertaining to its audience, due to its ability to create a more relaxed and pleasurable environment in the plot. From the playful awkwardness of Anne Shirley, to the witty banter of detectives Tommy and Tuppence, it is evident that comedic characters have always been appreciated and acknowledged in literature. Sir Toby Belch is but one of many amusing characters, 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...   [tags: comedy, character, inmoral, personality]

Good Essays
897 words (2.6 pages)

Shakespeare’s Creativity Essay

- Shakespeare’s Creativity In William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the art of music appears in the opening of the speech as the unhappy and lovesick Orsino tells his musicians, “If music be the food of love, play on” (I.i.1) In the speech that follows, Orsino asks the musicians to give him so much musical love i.e. food that will “surfeit” and cease to yearn for love any longer. Shakespeare uses music in opening line of play and at the end by Feste singing his song. It reveals that Shakespeare has presented on stage a romantic comedy which is not detached from our everyday reality....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Twelfth Night]

Good Essays
1657 words (4.7 pages)

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare Essays

- 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....   [tags: Character Analysis]

Good Essays
1153 words (3.3 pages)

Twelfth Night Essays

- In Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night or What you Will, the characters are involved in a plot complete with trickery, disguise, and love. Each character is defined not by his or her gender or true identity, but by the role they are forced to take because of the complicated situation that arises. Unlike their gender, the speech the characters give an insight to their true personalities. In the Twelfth Night, the character Duke Orsino uses flowery and over-dramatic language, long poetic sentence structure, and melodramatic metaphors to display his overemotional romantic nature despite the different emotions in his various speeches....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Shakespeare]

Good Essays
967 words (2.8 pages)

William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Essay

- William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Twelfth night is a play written by Shakespeare. It is a comedy about messed up love lives (Orsino, Olivia and Viola’s love triangle), hidden identity, revenge and being selfish. That is what this essay is about, the selfish characters being selfish and how it affected them. The selfish people in the play are, The Duke Orsino, Olivia, Malvolio and Sir Toby. They thought that they could always get their own way but being selfish makes you look like a fool....   [tags: Literature Analysis, Classics]

Free Essays
321 words (0.9 pages)