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Foolish Antics in Twelfth Night.

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Sam Tuke Foolish Antics in: Twelfth Night A fool can be defined in many meanings according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The word could mean "a silly person", or "one who professionally counterfeits folly for the entertainment of others, a jester, clown" or "one who has little or no reason or intellect" or "one who is made to appear to be a fool". In English literature, the two main ways which the fool could enter imaginative literature is that "He could provide a topic, a theme for mediation, or he could turn into a stock character on the stage, a stylized comic figure". In William Shakespeare's comedy, Twelfth Night, Feste the clown is not the only fool who is subject to foolery. He and many other characters combine their silly acts and wits to invade other characters that "evade reality or rather realize a dream", while "our sympathies go out to those". "It is natural that the fool should be a prominent & attractive figure and make an important contribution to the action" in forming the confusion and the humor in an Elizabethan drama. In Twelfth Night, the clown and the fools are the ones who combine humor & wit to make the comedy work. ...read more.


Feste is more of the comic truth of the comedy. Although he does not make any profound remarks, he seems to be the wisest person within all the characters in the comedy. Viola remarks this by saying "This fellow's wise enough to play the fool" Since Feste is a licensed fool, his main role in Twelfth Night is to speak the truth. This is where the humor lies, his truthfulness. In one example he proves Olivia to be a true fool by asking her what she was mourning about. The point Feste tried to make was why was Olivia mourning for a person who's soul is in heaven? FESTE: Good Madonna, why mourn'st thou? OLIVIA: Good Fool, for my brother's death. FESTE: I think his soul is in hell, Madonna. OLIVIA: I know his soul is in heaven, fool. FESTE: The more fool, Madonna, to mourn for your brother's soul, being in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen. Adding to the humor of the comedy, Feste, dresses up as Sir Topaz, the curate and visits the imprisoned Malvolio with Maria and Sir Toby. There he uses his humor to abuse Malvolio who is still unaware that he is actually talking to the clown than to the real Sir Topaz. ...read more.


He is similar to Feste, except he plays the role of a knight and is Olivia's kinsman. His role is similar to a fool because he depicts many pranks of a fool. For example 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 Topaz) into the dark cell where Malvolio was imprisoned. This accompaniment was probably to assure Malvolio that the real Sir Topaz 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 humor in the play. They assist in the make believe game and fool around with characters who "evade reality or rather realize a dream". In Twelfth Night, Feste, Maria and Sir Toby are the fools that make the comedy work in many senses. They create the confusion through humor and it all works out in the end to make William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night a truly humorous Elizabethan play. ...read more.

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