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Discuss the dramatic significance of Feste in Twelfth Night.

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Introduction

Discuss the dramatic significance of Feste in Twelfth Night. Feste is presented as the fool or jester as hired by Olivia to entertain. He is an 'allowed fool'. However many of the other characters are the 'real fools' such as sir Toby belch-an ironic surname due to his tendency to drink heavily or Malvolio who Feste convinces is mad when he masquerades as Sir Topaz. Feste almost reverses the roles talking down to Olivia and making her out to be the fool "do you not hear fellows? Take away the lady".Other characters can not talk to Olivia in the same way as Feste, as she is someone looked up to and respected. This could be due to the Twelfth night celebrations being able to speak his mind-being the fool. Feste is actually a clever and witty character and he shows and presents this through his use of language, quick wit, word play and punning. In scene 5 Feste begins with a pun "he that is well hanged in this world needs to fear no colours" The Elizabethans enjoyed such punning jokes in which the word was pronounced giving two meanings. Maria and Feste are like a comedy duo participating in quick fire exchanges, scoring points off each other and in act 1 scene 5 he hints at her relationship with sir Toby Belch. ...read more.

Middle

audience begin to realize he is not what he seems and provides truths as an outsider looking in and knows everything, but when talking to viola he says "send thee a beard" but we never know if Feste actually knows of her disguise. When viola says "I am not what I play", Olivia is totally unaware of the full significance of violas words, whereas the audience understands what is really meant, namely that viola is female. The emphasis on disguise means that the play is full of dramatic irony with enforces great amusement. Feste is able to provide us with song and is able to speak prose and verse and communicates with lower or higher status characters and so different from any other individual in twelfth night. Prose is usually the style for comic scenes and characters and verse, the style for lovers. Feste often uses verse in his songs and his final epilogue "with hey, ho, the wind and the rain" and prose is ordinary speech. A contrast from Feste's character is Orsino, Shakespeare's presentation of a melancholy lover and in love with the idea of love itself. He is presented as being fickle and of very high status being the duke of illyria, so is very different from how Feste is presented. ...read more.

Conclusion

add to comedic value and in the nineteenth century it became fashionable to add musical scenes filled with festivity which would create an atmosphere where the whole cast would join in at the end..Do you think so , interesting idea perhaps compare it to a modern adaptation eg Trevor num. And indicate what this says about shakespeares writing. Feste is often left in control showing the great influence that the fool has in the play. In many of Shakespeare's comedies a song illustrates the end of the play. This song explains the fact that you begin life as children without any care or worries and as you grow up, life becomes more complicated and intricate. This play is about the loss of innocence and the serious responsibility about adult life places upon you. It is the story of life. The audience will remember Feste's importance as he will be their last memory of the performance. Having the fool as the last character on stage also gives the audience the last humorous impression of the play. Except in this case Feste's song is anything but funny, it is sad and melancholy, showing the sadness that is buried within the play, it also marks the end of the Twelfth night celebrations and life returning back to normal. ...read more.

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