• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Dramatic Importance of Act 1 Scenes 1 and 2 referring to other parts of the play wherever appropriate ('Twelfth Night')

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Dramatic Importance of Act 1 Scenes 1 and 2 referring to other parts of the play wherever appropriate The title 'Twelfth Night' seems to suggest that Shakespeare, who wrote the play around 1602, wanted it to be performed on the twelfth day after Christmas; the festival of the Epiphany. This day formally marked the end of the Christmas season, which at the time was celebrated as a special festival. In addition to eating, drinking and generally over indulging, the performance of plays was a common feature on this day. He may have written this romantic comedy whilst keeping this festive spirit in mind. The title therefore may have had some bearing on the actual plot or characters. The secondary title 'What You Will', suggests that the play has something of interest for everyone and it also reflects the theme of excess. This title is appropriate, as this theme is apparent in some of the characters, particularly in terms of their longings and desires. 'Twelfth Night' was the last of Shakespeare's 'mature comedies', the other two being 'Much Ado About Nothing' and 'As you like it'. Like most of Shakespeare's other plays, this play does not have an original plot. It has many elements that were common to Elizabethan romantic comedy, including the devices of mistaken identity, separated twins and cross-dressing disguises. The plot revolves around overcoming obstacles to true love. It also features a sub-plot, which deals with how a self inflated and arrogant character is humiliated and brought to his knees. Unlike his earlier comedies, Shakespeare looks at the concept of love and themes such as insanity and madness of love, which were not parts of the conventional romantic comedy formula. The first few scenes of any play are important. As well as providing details about the setting, outlining the main theme and winning the audience's attention, they generate questions in the audience's mind, which are resolved as it unfolds. ...read more.

Middle

Even Viola in Act 2 scene 4, where she is referring to herself through use of a 'fictional sister', is shown to be yearning for someone. Often the characters' desires are coupled with frustration as they long for something that they can't have. Shakespeare makes use of this device to introduce further complications in the plot. Music plays an important part in Shakespeare's plays. Its use in this scene further adds to the dramatic effect. It seems to feed Orsino's love, particularly when he states that 'if music be the food of love play on'. This scene therefore helps to establish Orsino's attitude to music and this is built on in other parts of the play. In Act 2 scene 4, Orsino asks for a particular piece of music to be played and says that 'methought that it did relieve my passion much'. This shows that he uses music to help soothe his moods. Also when he says that 'more than light airs and recollected terms of these most brisk and giddy-pac´┐Żd times' seems to imply that he uses music to escape into another world or time. This also shows that he prefers the old song in comparison to the fast music of the time as it reminds him of a by gone era and it helps him to escape to this golden age in his imagination. Again in Act 2 scene 4 the lyrics from Feste's song directly reflect Orsino's character in that it is a melancholic song about a person dying from unrequited love, which mirrors Orsino's love for Olivia. The song also conveys Orsino's love sickness when Feste sings 'I am slain by a fair cruel maid'. The song draws parallels to his detachedness from the world when it goes on and refers to 'not a friend greet' and 'not a flower sweet'. This song has a strong effect on Orisno, as after listening to it, he immediately orders Cesario to go and woo Olivia for him. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Act 1 scene 4 the Duke describing Cesario says 'all is semblative a woman's part', is likely to make the audience laugh, as they know that Cesario is really a woman. There is also some dramatic irony in Act 1 scene 5 where Viola/Cesario says 'I swear I am not that I play'. Further dramatic irony related to the above is provided in Act 3 scene 1. At the beginning of the scene Feste says 'send thee a beard' to which Viola/Cesario replies 'I am almost sick for one'. This would create laughter in the audience, as it is another reminder of her disguise. Shakespeare creates further irony when Olivia and Viola/Cesario are talking to one another. This results in fast one line responses between them and it reminds the audience of the difficult position that Viola finds herself in. Therefore it can be seen that most of the comedy that results in subsequent parts of the play is a direct consequence of scene 2 of Act 1, thereby further demonstrating its dramatic significance. The main moment of pathos created as a result of Viola's disguise occurs in scene 4 of Act 2, when the duke refers to women as roses and Viola adds 'to die, even when to perfection grow'. This is very poignant as it makes the audience sympathise with Viola. Like the rose she has grown to perfection, but as she gets older and as her beauty starts fading, her chances of winning Orsino's heart are being reduced. Therefore her disguise is not allowing her to use her assets while she has them. A further moment of pathos in this scene is generated when Viola uses a fictional sister to describe herself as 'a blank, my lord she never told her love'. This further emphasizes that her disguise is stopping her from telling Orsino about her love for him. The phrase 'she sat like patience on a monument' is personification and it creates a very sad image of Viola in the audience's mind. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Twelfth Night section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Twelfth Night essays

  1. Twelfth Night is a feminist play. Discuss.

    This shows that Sir Toby is not as well-liked as Maria would be, as Maria is more proper and also, at the same while, witty with her words and is able to make fun of the gullible Sir Andrew, and cause him to be the laughing stock of the play.

  2. Discuss the different types of love presented in Twelfth Night

    Moreover, Olivia's impulsive and reckless love for 'Caesario' is ironically as misjudged and misguided as Orsino's love for her. We can see that Olivia fell in love with 'Caesario' impulsively and recklessly from the quote, "Not too fast! soft, soft".

  1. Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeares comedy plays. Shakespeare demonstrates many comedic situations that ...

    Even so quickly may one catch the plague?" (Act 1, scene 5, line 43-48). Olivia is surprised how she fell in love with Cesario so fast, as he only came to express the Duke's feelings for her. The love triangle is now in place, Viola loves Orsino, Orsino loves Olivia, but Olivia loves Cesario(Viola).

  2. How does Shakespeare explore the theme of deception and self-deception in Twelfth Night?

    We can see that Olivia fell in love with 'Caesario' impulsively and recklessly from the quote, "Not too fast! soft, soft". From this quote, we can see that she fears that she's falling in love too fast and gets carried away by her love for 'Caesario' which shows how fast she actually has fallen in love with 'Caesario'.

  1. Consider Shakespeare's presentation of Orsino and Olivia in Twelfth Night and consider how they ...

    Olivia: Youth is bought more oft than begged or borrowed Olivia has rapidly changed her opinion of the Count Orsino's suits, from being annoying and unwelcome to becoming intelligent, witty and someone that she has become infatuated with. Shakespeare seems by all this to be undermining the two most aristocratic, influential characters at the start of the play.

  2. How does Shakespeare present the theme of love in Act 1, Scene 5 and ...

    This implies that Orsino is constantly trying to woo Olivia but to no avail. Olivia obviously does not want to be with Orsino and is getting fed up with his constant offerings of love. This scene epitomises the role of a courtly lover i.e.

  1. Love as a Cause of Suffering - Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy, and ...

    This situation creates what can best be described as a sexual mess, in which Viola falls in love with Orsino but cannot tell him, because he thinks she is a man, while Olivia, the object of Orsino's affection, falls for Viola in her guise as Cesario.

  2. Twelfth Night is full of echoes and parallels. Consider how these contribute to the ...

    Orsino's unrequited love for Olivia is reflected in both Sir Andrew's and Malvolio's secret love for the same woman. Orsino's love for Olivia is dealt with more seriously, as Viola tries to educate Orsino to love intelligently and not sentimentally.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work