AS and A Level: Twelfth Night
Meet the team of inpirational teachers who mark our essays
77 AS and A Level Twelfth Night essays
Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeares comedy plays. Shakespeare demonstrates many comedic situations that the characters are placed in. He has the characters disrupt their usual routine.
This quote displays his love towards Olivia and how he cannot eat or do anything as he is so in love with her. Orsino knows that Olivia is not looking for any arrangements with him to be made as her brother just passed away. Viola and her brother Sebastian were on a ship when a huge storm came in and destroyed the ship. Viola found herself onto the shore of Illyrian where she thought she lost her brother. She decided she was going to disguise herself as her brother and find a job to get money.
- Essay length: 733 words
into Olivia's good graces is a wise one, 'To be turned away, is that not as good as a hanging to you?' It would also be essential for him to be intelligent to play the role of fool, as he is paid for his acute observation disguised as witty remarks. The most obvious testament to Feste`s intelligence however is his ability to manipulate words. This ensures he keeps his job in Olivia's household, as when she asks for the fool to be taken away because he is dry, Feste twists her words around and returns them in the form of a pun, 'Give the dry fool a drink, then is the fool not dry?'
- Essay length: 1787 words
it is too hard a knot for me to untie" The most obvious character to evoke perceived love is Orsino, he is in love with love, not a particular person i.e. Olivia. Duke Orsino thinks he loves Olivia, but it soon becomes obvious that he loves her mainly for her beauty, not her mobility or soul; however he gradually falls in love with Viola after her inner qualities appear while she is disguised as Cesario. Orsino's love is not complete until she is unmarked of Cesario and revealing that she is a beautiful woman.
- Essay length: 1025 words
We initially learn how Viola's disguise will cause grief as she tells us in an aside "myself would be his wife" (I, iiii, 39-41), the audience immediately knows that this is an intricate dilemma, as not only is Orsino her employer, but he also believes her to be a man. This is surely wicked, as Viola's love cannot yet be returned, on the other hand if Viola had not disguised herself then she may not have met, and fell in love with, Orsino.
- Essay length: 1838 words
In what way do the Shakespearian characters in Twelfth Night use the issues of disguise and deception?
For example when disguises seem to slip, Shakespeare cleverly gets a gasping reaction from the audience. Also Viola's use of disguise and deception sets up a sort o chain or connection with the other characters and when her true identity is revealed so the other character' part in disguise and deception is also revealed. At the end there is a great exposure. Shakespeare uses the technique of the main plot about Viola search of he brother and several sub plot involving other minor characters which makes the play very clever and has the effect of a modern day soap programme.
- Essay length: 692 words
Orsino's saucy young page Cesario (Viola) soon falls in love with his master. Unfortunately, whilst Viola falls in love with Orsino, Olivia falls in love with her alter ego, Cesario, whilst also being pursued at the same time by her pompous servant Malvolio. Olivia's house is also turned upside down by the antics of her drunken uncle, Sir Toby Belch, and the whole crazy situation reaches boiling point when Sebastian reappears. Orsino's Love Orsino is very romantic and poetic in his love. Orsino only dreams of love and never acts with love, as all he does is dream about it.
- Essay length: 1035 words
Viola's representation of homoerotic interaction in Olivia's love for her, and in her own love in Orsino as Cesario, disrupts the traditional, feminist "us vs. them" principle, and demonstrates that constructed, socially acceptable gender identities of the feminine and masculine are attributes that can be found in either male or female. In the final scene of the play, when Viola's act is exposed - "If nothing lets to make us happy both / But this my masculine usurped attire, [...] That I am Viola" (V.i.249-253), Sebastian, Viola's twin brother, easily steps into the vacuum left by the revelation of Cesario's identity marrying Olivia as he states, "So comes it, lady, you have been mistook.
- Essay length: 2471 words
Shakespeare creates a great ironic twist with Violas situation. In act 1 scene 4 when Viola has successfully taken on the role of Cesario, we see Orsino has grown very close to him/her, and sees him as a good friend after only knowing him a couple of days, 'if the duke continues these favours towards you, Cesario, you are like to be much advanced'. The audience can tell that Viola has done very well in deceiving Orsino into thinking into thinking she is a man, and has already made an excellent impression.
- Essay length: 1883 words
Before Sir Andrew enters Maria and Sir Toby are discussing Sir Andrew and his follies. Sir Toby first shows his exploitation of Sir Andrew saying, "He's as tall a man as any in Illyria." meaning he is tall, which Toby thinks is the only compliment; you can give to a complete idiot such as Sir Andrew. Maria then asks why it's good to be tall, which Toby responds to by exclaiming, "Why, he has 3000 ducats a year." as though this is a perfect reason to compliment somebody's height - the fact that they earn a lot of money every year.
- Essay length: 3607 words
Disguised characters and a foreign setting are also features of a typical romantic comedy. Romantic comedies are romantic but they don't always have that much comedy in them. However Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is serious but it does have its comedy moments. He uses comedy very wisely to examine different aspects of human love. By doing this he exploits to the full elements of the comic mode. The play benefits from this because it's set in a festive season. In-depth Commentary on Act 1 Scene 1 In Act1 Scene1, Count Orsino of Illyria is introduced; he constantly moans that he is
- Essay length: 3092 words
It is said that the philosophy on human nature is that we ought to be ourselves and not copy. This tends to make everything straightforward and somewhat real, as it causes less confusion between the sexes. Characters and language in this play can support this. In Act 1 Scene 1 Orsino says "If music be the food of love, play on; give me excess of it" It seems that Orsino in the play has "fallen in love" with Olivia .Yet we as the audience understand that he has not 'Fallen in Love' as such, but the idea of falling in love is better suited to his belief, But not being able to admit this to himself he ultimately falls in love with the countess's daughter.
- Essay length: 958 words
We can see this from the quote, "Would thou'dst be ruled by me!". That's an example of confusion resulting from Viola's disguise. Mayhem is caused when the jealous Sir Andrew Aguecheek attacks the tough and skilled Sebastian, assuming he was the soft and timid 'Cesario'. As a result of this attack, Sebastian beats down Sir Andrew Aguecheek and causes mayhem and tension between characters like Olivia and Sir Toby Belch. We can see the tension displayed by Sir Toby and Olivia from the quote, "Where manners ne'er were preach'd, out of my sight!".
- Essay length: 3460 words
Shakespeare uses this theme of different kinds of love to show the many different situations that can arise from these different kinds of love, and henceforth lead the audience to think deeper and ponder upon the wonders of the different kinds of love....
The theme of love is prominent in the plot of the play. Also inclusive in the category of romantic love would be the one between Sir Toby and Maria. Though not apparent and prominent, Sir Toby and Maria get married in the end. The love, thus shared between Sir Toby and Maria is one that is subconscious, and growing unknowingly. This relationship shared between Sir Toby and Maria is what contributes to the sub-plot of the play, as their bond grows through the times they spend together.
- Essay length: 6979 words
"Twelfth Night" consists of many love triangles, however many of the characters who are tangled up in the web of love are blind to see that their emotions and feelings toward other characters are untrue. They are being deceived by themselves and/or the others around them. There are certain instances in the play where the emotion of love is true, and the two people involved feel very strongly toward one another. Viola's love for Orsino is a great example of true love.
- Essay length: 2906 words
Too much or excess music, meaning over-indulgence in music is actually being compared with overeating food. Just like how overeating makes one feel sick, over-indulgence in music in this case, over-indulgence in love for Olivia makes one lovesick and desperate. From another quote, " Love thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers" tells us that he needs his surroundings to be very romantic to be able to love. Orsino seems to love Olivia only in such conditions and he feels that his so strong for her that even in a short period of time, his love is so full of fancies.
- Essay length: 3560 words
Viola has a great importance of "Twelfth Night" because she alone helps reveal other main characters' personalities that would've otherwise been hidden
It is evident that his thoughts were all based around himself and no one else. But as his close emotional bond with Viola develops, Orsino starts to change and reveal that he can be sympathetic and caring about another person. And in that way, his relationship with Viola has taught and changed him into a somewhat more likeable character. For example, when Viola explains about her fictional sister (who ironically is a description of her), Orsino becomes so caught up in the story that he forgets about wooing Olivia for a time.
- Essay length: 1004 words
Shakespeare's characters love to disguise themselves, this theme is often illustrated and important to the plot of his comedies, but in this case, the disguise takes an ironic turn. Feste, in dressing as a wise man reveals his true nature instead of concealing it. This scene is meant to be played for comedic value; the audience gets a glimpse of the true nature of the clown. This is a key element in the play as other people are in disguise for example viola masks as Cesario.
- Essay length: 1299 words
The speeches he delivers are in verses, and the ending speech ends off effectively with a rhyming couplet. The poetry and music, the use of rich, sensuous imagery of beauty and nature, set a romantic tone of the play. This can be seen evidently from how he begins with 'If music be the food of love, play on'. This line creates a mood that is suitable for what he is talking about - love. In addition, scene 1 is the introduction scene, in which we can gather many first impressions, be it for the characters, or the theme of the play.
- Essay length: 4450 words
Through these three types of romantic love, Shakespeare creates a love triangle involving the three, and creates a plot that is complex, yet entertaining at the same moment. The theme of love is prominent in the plot of the play. Also inclusive in the category of romantic love would be the one between Sir Toby and Maria. Though not apparent and prominent, Sir Toby and Maria get married in the end. The love, thus shared between Sir Toby and Maria is one that is subconscious, and growing unknowingly.
- Essay length: 7482 words
Viola is one with sacrificial and patient love, willingly loving Orsino, and attending to his every need. Orsino, on the other hand, is shown as an emotional man, who has superficial and transient love for Olivia. This love is very abruptly shifted to Viola at the end of the play, when Viola reveals her true identity. Through this contrast of these two individuals, we can see that Shakespeare makes a distinct different between genders, and allows to draw a contrast between characters to think deeper into their characters and purpose in the story, beyond their surface appearances.
- Essay length: 3395 words
In Shakespeare's time this festive holiday was distinguished as a festival in which everything was confused, muddled and chaotic just like the fairy tale world of Illyria in Shakespeare's play. The first act in scene reveals to the audience much detailed information about Orsino and Olivia, the two main protagonists. The opening of this scene is situated in the Duke Orsino's palace. Orsino is the duke of Illyria, where this romantic comedy is located. Orsino is very dilapidated and in a depressing low state, as he is seriously love sick.
- Essay length: 2717 words
Grant); and Olivia's clown, Feste (Ben Kingsley), play a trick on Olivia's bad-tempered steward, Malvolio (Nigel Hawthorne). This performance of Twelfth Night follows quite closely the actual play, although it includes as its opening scene the scene of the shipwreck, which is talked about in the actual play but never presented. Even though Twelfth Night is a comedy, in this film humour is not one of the most important themes. Instead it focuses more on themes like appearance and reality or the different kinds of love.
- Essay length: 820 words
Additionally in the play he also provides wisdom and sardonic comment on what is going on. Feste is quite unique as he moves around all levels of society in Ilyria, being equally welcome above and below stairs. Feste's foolery is everywhere as he moves between the households of Olivia and the Duke Orsino. This makes Feste a significant character and very much his own man. Feste is the professional fool of the play rather than being a 'real' fool such as Sir Andrew or Malvolio.
- Essay length: 625 words
Feste is also able to recognize that self-proclaimed wits are usually not witty at all and it is this lack of self-knowledge that makes them fools. This subject of self-knowledge (or lack thereof) is pervasive throughout the comedy as it contributes to the motif of love as folly. Feste's contribution to the disclosure of underlying themes of love is essential to the understanding of the play's messages. The clown's most profound comments often take the form of song: O mistress mine, where are you roaming? O stay and hear, your true love's coming, That can sing both high and low.
- Essay length: 1298 words
The Dramatic Importance of Act 1 Scenes 1 and 2 referring to other parts of the play wherever appropriate ('Twelfth Night')
On the whole the opening scenes tend to be of major significance and this is certainly true for 'Twelfth Night'. Viola's plans for disguising herself in Act 1 scene 2 introduce one of the main motifs of the play: disguise and the identity confusion related to it. Similarly, Orsino's mournful speech in Act 1 scene 1 indicates that the play will deal with matters of love, emotion, desire and rejection. Put together, the two scenes suggest the extra twist that is the hallmark of 'Twelfth Night': mistaken gender identity.
- Essay length: 5931 words