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A Consideration of the Role of Feste in Twelfth Night

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  • Essay length: 1212 words
  • Submitted: 08/09/2003
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AS and A Level Twelfth Night

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A Consideration of the Role of Feste in Twelfth Night

Shakespeare portrays Feste as a well-drawn, wise, cunning, adaptable character. His character is used in Twelfth Night to reflect on the actions and emotions of the others by keeping himself at a distance from the other characters and not becoming emotionally involved in any of the plots at the beginning of the play. Feste subtly conveys his messages and thoughts through his songs to the audience about the other characters in the play. He reveals in his songs that Orsino is "roaming" after the wrong love in his pursuit of Olivia. Feste somewhat becomes the narrator of the play by commenting on actions that occur within the play and foreshadowing events.

When Feste first enters into the play he has been absent from Olivia's court a long time and must now return into her favour. He does not want to listen to what Maria says to him and using his quick wit manages to answer her. Feste demonstrates his quick wit and ability to juggle words effectively when he says:

Let her hang me; he that is well hanged in this world needs to fear

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