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Analysis of the Fools.

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Introduction

Analysis of the Fools According to Dictionary.com a fool is "one who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding", "a member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment, as with jokes or antics; a jester", "one who has little or no reason or intellect" or "one who is made to appear to be a fool". In William Shakespeare's comedy, Twelfth Night, Feste the clown is not the only imbecile who is subject to foolery. He as well as many other characters combines their inane acts and wits to invade other characters that evade reality in order to realize a dream. The Fool is a prominent and attractive figure who makes an important contribution to the action in Twelfth Night confusion and the humour in this Elizabethan drama. Without the humour and wit of the fool characters, this comedy would not work. Feste's role in this Illyrian comedy is significant because in Illyria the fool is not only a critic of his environment but a merry companion. In Twelfth Night, Feste plays the role of a humble clown employed by Olivia's father playing the licensed fool of Olivia's father's household. ...read more.

Middle

Feste insinuated that she should not lament her brother's fate, but rejoice over the new life his soul will lead. The astuteness that Feste possesses adds humour to the play. With his intellect, Feste adds to the humour of the comedy. He dresses up as Sir Topas, the curate, and visits the imprisoned Malvolio. There he uses his cleverness to abuse Malvolio who is still unaware that he is actually talking to a clown, rather than to the real Sir Topas. Feste (disguised as Sir Topas) calls Malvolio a lunatic, Satan and confuses him by wittingly making him a fool. Throughout the play, Malvolio has been the killjoy. He is Feste's worst nightmare and is the only character to show a negative attitude and a reversed dignity in the play, but in the end is triumphed over by Feste completely. Maria, Olivia's companion, is another person who seems enthusiastic in playing pranks on other people. In Twelfth Night, she plays the unsuspecting role of a "behind the scenes fool" who feeds ideas to Feste, Sir Andrew & Sir Toby to assist her in her plans. ...read more.

Conclusion

His role is similar to a fool because he depicts many pranks of a fool. For instance in Act II scene iii, while he was drunk, he sings along with Feste when Malvolio barges in to shut them up. Whenever there is a prank, Maria invites Sir Toby to participate. One such prank was to assist Maria's fake letter to make Malvolio think Olivia is in love with him. Sir Toby's make-believe scheme works convincingly on Malvolio. Another prank was to accompany the disguised Feste (Sir Topas) into the dark cell where Malvolio was imprisoned. This accompaniment was probably to assure Malvolio that the real Sir Topas is visiting him. Yet it is another make-believe scheme of Sir Toby. In Twelfth Night, the fools are the ones that control the comedy and humour. They assist in the make believe games and fool around with characters who are not in touch with reality. In Twelfth Night, Feste, Maria and Sir Toby are the fools that make the comedy work in many senses. They create the confusion through humour and it all works out in the end to make William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night a deeply satirical, but effectively amusing Elizabethan play. ...read more.

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