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Twelfth Night - Feste's self.

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Introduction

Feste's self: Feste is an observer. He sees through people. Though he's a kind of entertainer, who will only perform for money, what he chooses to sing to people is intentionally relevant and disturbing to them. People find the truth very hard to deal with, for example, 'Peace, you rogue...here comes my lady'. This story shows people avoiding the truth at every level. Especially since they are being called 'fools' or 'clowns', and not really taken seriously. For example, the fool in King Lear was constantly being threatened with hangings and beatings, but this was only as he was a 'witty fool'. Again with Feste in Twelfth Night, who also is threatened with hangings, due to his absence. But Feste does not fear this threat, and in fact makes a joke of it; mocking Maria and using a sexual pun at the same time. This confidence comes from the fact that it wasn't their job to simply provide amusement, but also to make critical comments and provide advice, as Olivia asks him: 'What's a drunken man like, fool?'. And because he is an 'allowed fool' he was able to say what he thinks, without fear of punishment, 'there's no slander in an allowed fool'. Since the only relationship that involves Feste, is that between Olivia's family, he has the ability to mediate between the whole cast. He is regarded as a close friend to Olivia, 'What is a drunken man like, fool?', as well as Sir Toby, by engaging in their 'folly' and songs. But he also has the ability to distance himself from everyone when needs be. ...read more.

Middle

And the next scene starts in comic humour. The drama in each scene seems heightened due to the massive contrast. At the end of the play, Shakespeare provides what seems to be an epilogue, like other plays, such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and All's Well That Ends Well. However, unlike these, Feste sings it. The song is about Feste growing up, about being tolerating in childhood, rejected in adult hood, unsuccessful in marriage and drunk in old age...but nothing really matters, the actors will always try an please. Although this song is about Feste, the overall meaning of it reflects the whole play. For example, he talks about himself growing up with bad experiences, his life circle from childhood to being an old man. This is a slight re-iteration of a song he sang earlier: 'What is love...youth's a stuff will not endure', This song is telling the audience that we should enjoy the present because nobody can know what the future holds, it could be good e.g. Viola-Orsino and Sebastian-Olivia, or it could be terrible e.g. Malvolio. Feste uses word play frequently throughout this play. These word plays, or puns, can make the audience laugh or even add to the tension so far. A good example is in Feste's first scene: 'he that is well hanged in this world needs to fear no colours'. The first interpretation of this pun, is the word 'colours' which can mean enemy or war. So, logically, someone who is already dead, can't fear. ...read more.

Conclusion

With this song, Feste seems to suggest that even as a person goes through life, with its ups and downs, he or she must remember that at any time one can end up in an unfamiliar place with a completely different life, exactly like Sebastian and Viola. There will always be unpredictability, as long as there is 'wind and the rain'. Ironically, Feste is the only person not to be seen as the fool. Olivia is the fool, as she has fallen in love with a woman, Orisino is seen the fool, because his Viola has tricked him into thinking she is a man. Sir Andrew comes across as the fool because of his foolish remarks, like taking the word 'ass' literally and believing 'Pigrogromitus'! This irony will add humour and dramatic irony to the audience and again make Feste look the cleverest by default. By acting the 'fool' he comes across as the wise man he is. The 'Twelfth Night' was know as the "Feast Of Fools", which is very similar to "Feste the Fool". This seems extremely significant, due to the similarity, as the Feast of Fools always appointed a "Lord Of Ridicule". It is possible the an Elizabethan audience would of got this (intentional) similarity and therefore see Feste as this Lord Of Ridicule. If Feste was this lord, then he would become the master of the household, for this short holiday period, and organise dances, folly, pranks and deceptions, in order to entertain the rest of the household. If this case, it would then explain Feste's songs, drunkenness, writing of letters to Malvolio and of course dressing up as Sir Topas. ...read more.

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