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How Does Shakespeare Present Aspects of Folly in Twelfth Night

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

How Does Shakespeare Present Aspects of Folly in Twelfth Night? All or most of Shakespeare's plays contain playfulness and foolishness and within 'Twelfth Night' there are many examples of this. All these examples of folly add to the overall humour of the play. Throughout 'Twelfth Night' the theme of foolishness links the plot, characters and scenes in the play. In Shakespeare's day, people wanted to go to the theatre and be able to laugh. They loved all plays with an element of comedy, even Shakepeare's tragedies have elements of comedy in them. In Romeo and Juliet there are characters seen as crazy or foolish such as Mercutio. First of all there's Malvolio, one of the main characters. Proud and pompous, he is easily ridiculed as he is lead into dreadful humiliation at the hands of Fabian, Maria, Sir Toby, Feste and Sir Andrew. All the formentioned people make Malvolio look foolish when Maria writes a letter to Malvolio expressing her love for him and signing it from Olivia. Malvolio falls into the trap and begins to believe that Olivia is madly in love with him.

Middle

Feste has a very important role. He is constantly acting foolishly as his job is to solace and entertain his fellowmates. Although he acts like a clown through most of the play, he is probably one of the most sensible and wise characters in the play. In Act 3, Viola says: 'This fellow is wise enough to play the fool and to do that well, craves a kind of wit.' This is an accurate depiction on Feste. He often outsmarts the other characters in the play using his quickwits most of all Malvolio and Olivia. Many other characters are the 'real fools' such as Sir Toby Belch -- an ironic surname due to his tendency to drink heavily, Sebastian for marrying Olivia when he barely knew her. Overall, Viola is quite sensible. Although dressed like a man, in those days there would be no way that she would be able to obtain service with Orsino as a woman, so her disguise was quite an ingenious idea. When talking to higher status characters, especially Olivia, Feste almost reverses the roles talking down to Olivia as shown in a conversation on page 17.

Conclusion

Malvolio means 'ill wishing' very fitting to his character. There are other character's names which are amusing such as Sir Toby Belch - ironic as he is a heavy drinker. Aguecheek is a ridiculous name.... And Orsino is named so because Don Virgino Orsino - an Italian Nobleman was the guest of honour at the opening night of Twelfth Night so Shakespeare named the Duke in his play after him. Twelfth Night was once a day of great merrymaking to mark the end of the Christmas festivities. It was the feast of fools and even now, the Christmas season is a time where we all seek entertainment in the form of amusement and folly. Although written all those years ago, Twelfth Night is still relevant today. A twentieth century audience still enjoy this play today as people still love to laugh and have a good time some of the jokes, although obscure are still found amusing today. Even now we love to see people make fools of themselves and the characters we don't like to be served with just retribution. 1186 words English Coursework - Mrs Bird May 1999 Sarah Thorniley-Walker

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