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Discuss the theme of appearance and reality in Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'.

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Runi Rifaat Twelfth Night Coursework Discuss the theme of appearance and reality in Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'. To start of this piece of coursework you need some background information on the 'Twelfth Night'. The twelfth night is the evening of January the 5th, Before the twelfth day which is the day of the Epiphany, on January the 6th, 12 days after Christmas and traditionally marking the end of the Christmas season. The twelfth night in normally celebrated with various festivities. The twelfth night is all about celebration, masquerade, mischief, usurpation, chaos, disorder and festivities. The play was written by Shakespeare and first acted out in 1602. It was first performed in the middle temple. The music that was used in the play was the same as part of the after dinner music provided at the consort. An Elizabethan audience would expect all the actors to be male, with no female actors. Actors such as Olivia and Maria would've also been male. They would appeal to the audience and make the audience interested in the play by using things such as words with hidden meanings, such as world play with Feste. An Elizabethan audience would expect the plays to depict life as it was at that time. We wood be looking at how four characters: Viola who was a twin with Sebastian, who were separated from each other in a shipwreck, and she arrives independently in Illyria. ...read more.


In the letter she embarrasses him by telling Malvolio to wear yellow stockings, smile upon her and wear cross-gartered stockings and Olivia hates all these things, quotes: Malovolio: "Remember who commended thy yellow stockings" "Therefore in my presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee" "And wish to see thee ever cross-gartered" From these quotes above you can see how Malvolio is tricked in a cunning way into doing and wearing these things that Olivia hates. Malvolio followed up what was written in the letter and humiliated himself in front of Olivia, quote: Malvolio "This does make some obstruction in the blood, this cross-gartering." "Not black in my mind, though yellow in my legs." These two quotes show who Malvolio completely humiliated himself in front of Olivia and Maria. Olivia thought he was mad and thought Malvolio needed serious attention, quote: Olivia "Why, this is midsummer madness." "Good Maria, let this fellow be looked to." These quotes show how Olivia thought that Malvolio was mad and seriously needed help. Maria being one of Malvolio's enemies agreed with Sir Toby to put Malvolio in a mad house and let him be looked at by Sir Topaz who was indeed Feste. This shows how they had everything planned out accurately. Our next character is probably Olivia's most trusted friend and maid, Maria. We now know how Maria played a trick on Malvolio which got him into real trouble with the household especially Olivia. ...read more.


Olivia turns to Malvolio for support against Feste and Malvolio being secretly in love with Olivia tries to back her up but Feste ends up winning at the end. This essay shows how four different characters have dealt with disguise and deceit and the themes of appearance and reality. We looked at how there was always a mix-up between Cesario/Olivia and Sebastian especially at the end of the play when everyone finds out who is who. Malvolio acts pompous and full of himself throughout the play but this gets him into trouble with Sir Toby and Maria. They decide to play very nasty trick on him with the letter and the consequences are that Olivia thinks his mad and decides to put him in a mad house. Our next character is Maria, supposedly Olivia's most trusted friend. She hates Malvolio and so deceits him with the incident of the letter but she is smart and so escape safely with Sir Toby. The final character we looked at was Feste; he was the smartest character and always beats anyone in anything to do with words such as the incident with Olivia over mourning. He ends up proving her a fool. To end this piece of coursework, I have to say that I personally found the play very interesting and although I found this piece not easy to write I still enjoyed it. ...read more.

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