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

GCSE: Twelfth Night

Browse by
3 star+ (1)
Word count:
fewer than 1000 (43)
1000-1999 (99)
2000-2999 (31)
3000+ (14)

Meet our team of inspirational teachers

find out about the team

Get help from 80+ teachers and hundreds of thousands of student written documents

  • Marked by Teachers essays 1
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 8
  1. Marked by a teacher

    Mistaken Identity in Twelfth Night.

    3 star(s)

    We learn this from Olivia's words after Viola-Cesario's departure: "Even so quickly may one catch the plague? Methinks I feel this youth's perfections With an invisible and subtle stealth To creep in mine eyes. Well, let it be." (I, v, l. 250-3) So, complications were forming already in just the first act: Olivia had fallen in love with the disguised woman, viola; Viola was in love with Orsino, who believed her to be a man; and Orsino was in love with Olivia, who despised him. A love triangle full of complications, lies and mistaken identity had formed.

    • Word count: 1116
  2. The most perceptive characters in Twelfth Night are the best at fooling others. How far would you agree with this statement?

    The way that Orsino is not able to see what he really is, gives us little hope of his ability to see who he really loves - Viola, which we can see from his rapid, no nonsense redirection of affection - "Let me see you in thy woman's weeds." The fact that Orsino has dropped all the romance and "passion of loins' from his new courtship with Viola suggests that he has realized the folly of his "love" to Olivia; an insight that is almost out of character.

    • Word count: 1583
  3. Free essay

    All about Twelfth Night. The play starts in Illyria with the Duke Orsino talking of Olivia

    Maria a lady in waiting is also introduced and early on we get hints of a possible relationship between the two, this would have been extremely shocking within the Shakespearean audience as within this time this would have been unacceptable as if you were from upper-class who were expecting to marry within the same social status and social mobility was nearly impossible. The fact that there is a lot of craziness within the play could be because the play is called twelfth night which mean within the twelfth days of Christmas anything was okay but all of that would have come to an end on the twelfth night when the Christmas season and festivity would end.

    • Word count: 652
  4. Explore the ways Malvolio is presented in Act2 Scene 5

    Whilst Malvolio reads the letter, there is a dark and gloomy feel to the setting. This presents him as a very vulnerable figure in the play and how he has been tricked into thinking Lady Olivia is in love with him. Furthermore, not only does the setting help to show him being a rather vulnerable figure, it also shows him as having become vulnerable due to his emotions.

    • Word count: 537
  5. How does Shakespeare use the theme of disguise and concealment to dramatic effect in Twelfth Night?

    She has no male company for safety, only the captain's friendship. This adds to the reason why Viola had to disguise herself. Viola's disguise as a man is also very appealing and comical to the Elizabethan audience. In the stage play, a boy would be playing the part of Viola. The Elizabethan audience would recognize that a boy is playing the part of a girl who is pretending to be a boy. This creates confusion, amusement and dramatic irony. When Twelfth Night is being performed; the audience will be able to see the big change between Viola, and then Cesario - her male alias.

    • Word count: 1565
  6. How does Olivia appear more likeable than Orsino in the play even though both of them are quite similar?

    Firstly, let us have an overview on the comparable characteristics of Olivia and Orsino. To begin with, Olivia and Orsino are both very wealthy and come from the privileged social classes. In the case of Olivia, she is a countess and concerning Orsino, he is the Duke of Illyria not neglecting the fact that they are both visited by Feste the fool. Next, the theme of love which associates these two is apparent seeing that they are somehow in love with only the fact of being in love, that is they do not love whoever they say they feel affection for with but the only idea of being in love; especially Orsino who should

    • Word count: 901
  7. How is Romantic love presented in Twelfth Night?

    In the end, Viola's love changes Olivia and Orsino, who do well to make up for the previous mistakes. The Twelfth Night opens with Orsino talking about his love for Olivia "If music be the food of love, play on" (Act I, line 1). Orsino speaks of his love for Olivia, so right at the beginning of the play, we know what Orsino wants to do. However, when Orsino says, "So full of shapes is fancy that it alone is high fantastical" (Act I scene I.14-15), we begin to wonder if Orsino is really in love with Olivia at all.

    • Word count: 903
  8. How does Shakespeare explore the theme of love in Twelfth Night(TM)?

    Although the play is a comedy, it can also be the beginning of a tragedy, as at this point in the play, Viola's love for Orsino almost costs her her life. However, I think that at the same time Shakespeare is trying to tell us that love is not always as serious as that. The characters of Orsino and Olivia are overdramatic and very self absorbed. They seem to be more obsessed with the thought of love than with love itself.

    • Word count: 2280
  9. How does Shakespeare manipulate the audience to dislike Malvolio towards the beginning of the play yet possibly sympathise with him by the end?

    These comments from Malvolio, only judging from the first few lines he speaks, soon make him appear, to the audience, to be an unattractive character. The next we see of Malvolio is in Act 2 Scene 3, and he enters after it has been made clear to the audience that all characters on stage (Maria, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Feste) were all having a pleasurable party. They were singing, drinking, dancing and joking around. The audience themselves feel involved in the party.

    • Word count: 2794
  10. Is Twelfth Night just a comedy of romance and confusion

    For instance Shakespeare creates a character called Malvolio. Malvolio plays the part of a strict, austere and a general 'kill-joy' puritan. However Shakespeare writes Twelfth Night to make Malvolio a hypocrite. HE does this by making Malvolio day-dream about getting married to Olivia, and Mariah, and having dreams of being someone important and great, rather than wanting to live a humble and modest life like a puritan 'should'. "Having been three months married to her [Olivia], sitting in my state... Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown; having come from a day-bed, where I have left Olivia sleeping...

    • Word count: 1674
  11. To what extent does Shakespeare provide his audience with a satisfying ending to twelfth night.

    the film 'Twelfth night', including a final scene showing the two couples together and viola in her feminine clothes. Another problem for viola is her love for Orsino. 'What kind of woman is't? Of your complexion' (A2S4L24). In this scene viola is confessing her love for Orsino very subtly. Orsino, unsuspecting of her true identity, informs 'him' that he should love a man younger than himself. At the end of the play Orsino discovers it is a woman he has grown fond of and 'falls in love' with her.

    • Word count: 1979
  12. Twelfth Night Essay

    As a brother and sister reunite and lover marry. Shakespeare's Theatre was very different from the theatre of today. First of all they didn't have artificial lighting so they didn't have a roof in order to illuminate the stage. This meant that everyone was equally illuminated including the crowd unlike use of spot light in modern theatre. Also the behaviour of the people during the time was different, they would talk, drink, eat , trade and sometimes if they found the production boring they would throw food at the actors. The crowd also stood right up to the stage unlike today where the audience is seated.

    • Word count: 1142
  13. Explore the ways that Shakespeare shows different types of love in Twelfth Night.(TM)

    'O then unfold the passion of my love, Surprise her with discourse of my dear faith.' (I.iv.l.24) He wants Viola to go and capture Olivia's heart for him and tell her everything that he feels for her. He feels as though he loves Olivia more then 'that love a woman can bear'. (II.iv.l.103). As the play moves forward Orsino actually meets Olivia. As she enters he refers to her as 'heaven' walking 'on earth'. (V.i.l.93) This is the first time Orsino meets Olivia properly and already he is referring to her as a kind of goddess.

    • Word count: 1639
  14. how Shakespeare uses disguise to suit his comic purpose

    Come, my young soldier, put up you iron: you are well fleshed come on!" However Olivia brakes it up just as they are going to duel. Twelfth Night is as much about love and revenge as about disguise. We can see this at the end of the play when Orsino marries Viola and Olivia marries Sebastian. At the start of the play however Orsino and Olivia pretend to have love. We know it is pretend love because Olivia does not normally wear black and she vows to wear black for seven years and also Orsino doesn't normally song love songs but he does, " O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou" Orsino singing like this shows us that he is not in real love but ion pretend love.

    • Word count: 4347
  15. A close, critical analysis of Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' with regard to relating a particular extract to the play as a whole through the play's key themes

    The extract itself is taken from the end of the scene; Feste has just exited and Viola - alone on stage - delivers her lines of blank verse as a soliloquy to the audience. The speech at first seems to refer to her recent and uncomfortable encounter with Feste, but also reflects on other ideas including the two key themes of the play. Moreover, when actually delivered in a production, in my opinion the actress could interpret these lines in a variety of different ways and subsequently speak to mean different things.

    • Word count: 4027
  16. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare creates comedy for the audience in Act 3 Scene 4 of Twelfth Night

    Viola, thinking her brother is dead, dresses as a man and takes the name Cesario to work for the love-sick Duke Orsino, who is constantly pining for the affection of the grieving Lady Olivia. Olivia, mourning the death of her brother, promptly falls in love with Cesario when 'he' comes to woo her for 'his' Lord, thus showing the fickleness of love. Obviously, Viola (or Cesario) does not desire Olivia's love, but actually longs for Orsino. Meanwhile, it becomes known to the audience that Sebastian has been rescued by a sailor, Antonio.

    • Word count: 5968
  17. What exactly is the purpose of Feste in 'Twelfth Night'?

    Adding a comedy in another way, Feste dresses up as Sir Topas, the curate, to prove someone else a fool; Malvolio. While in disguise, Feste uses humour to abuse Malvolio, who does not know he is talking to a clown. Feste, as Sir Topas, calls Malvolio a 'lunatic' and 'Satan'. As a result of his conversation with Malvolio, Feste has wittingly turned Malvolio into a fool, and, once again, shown his true wisdom. This scene also shows the underlying theme through the entire play as, although it is pitch black in the cellar where Malvolio is being kept, Feste still

    • Word count: 2393
  18. Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's best-loved and most performed comedies because it is a joyous celebration of romantic love. Do you agree?

    Orsino thinks he is in love with Olivia when it is obvious that he is not, Olivia thinks she is in love with Viola, and again it is evident that this is not true love. Also, Olivia was supposed to be in mourning for 7 years for her brother, yet she unveiled herself for Viola with little reluctance, proving that she didn't care enough for her brother and that she'd rather chase after men than mourn for her dead brother.

    • Word count: 2629
  19. Does Malvolio get what he deserves, or is it a joke gone too far?

    He is a rowdy drinker with little money who invites his wealthy, but rather stupid friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek to stay on the pretence that Sir Andrew could woo Lady Olivia. During one of Sir Toby and Sir Andrew's late night drinking sessions with Olivia's favourite household fool Feste Malvolio reprimands the drinkers thus demonstrated his idea of superiority, which was above his station as a servant: "my masters are you mad? Or what are you? Have you no wit manners or honesty but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night".

    • Word count: 1514
  20. Comparison between the two heroines of the play "Twelfth Night"(by William Shakespeare): Olivia and Viola.

    Viola is then introduced to the audience, in a completely different scene. She has just landed in an unknown country; she, too believes her brother to be dead, and she has nobody around her who she knows and can rely on. However, Viola is seen acting resourcefully and practically. She immediately tries to find proof of her brother still being alive, and then makes a plan to work in the Duke's court. She does not, like Olivia, go overboard and begin mourning for her brother.

    • Word count: 670
  21. Analysis of Comedy in Act 3 Scene 4 of Twelfth Night

    When he walks on stage he is wearing yellow cross-gartered stockings which he thinks he has been 'commended to wear'. This would make the audience laugh as it is so different to the Puritan's clothes that he was wearing earlier in the play. It was also mentioned earlier that Olivia despises the colour yellow so her reaction to seeing her steward dressed so comically would add to the humour of the scene. Malvolio starts to quote from the letter he received from Maria.

    • Word count: 1988
  22. Twelfth Night has been described as a play of contrast-light and darkness; humour and seriousness; excess and poverty; appearance and reality. What do you learn about Shakespeare's society, and his idea about society, through these contrast.

    The only people that could get away with questioning their masters were jesters, like Feste, one of Shakespeare's characters symbolising appearance against reality. Feste spoke to Olivia in any manner he pleased, because they thought his intention was to be comical; but sometimes Feste took advantage of this opportunity to be honest, and no one ever questioned him, except Malvolio a puritan. In the 16th century, puritans, like Malvolio wanted to close the theatre, because they believed people shouldn't have a good time.

    • Word count: 3021
  23. Realtionship between Viola and Olivia

    He is very well favoured...one would think his mother's milk was scarce out of him'. Hearing that he is young, handsome and yet a delicate and determined man, she agrees to see him: 'Let him approach. Call in my gentlewoman' By talking to him, Olivia is rather surprised by the way he speaks so boldly and is so outright to her, and she questions him: 'What are you? What would you?' Cesario, being a female himself, can connect well with Olivia.

    • Word count: 2255
  24. Explore how Shakespeare shapes the audience's perceptions of Malvolio in Twelfth Night

    He denies himself indulgences and pleasure whilst at the same time begrudging these things of others. He makes a point of taking the moral high ground over Maria, Feste and more importantly, Sir Toby, when he scorns Sir Toby and Sir Andrew for their revelries and "disorders". This in turn adds to their desire to avenge him and bring him from his level of false authority, back to his true social class of a mere steward at which he is unable to give out orders, but only to receive them.

    • Word count: 1734
  25. Twelfth Night Coursework

    Puritans referred to theatres as houses of sin. Most of the audience attended the theatre regularly and would feel hurt by Puritan beliefs. In my opinion the most dramatic scene in the sub-plot is Act 2 Scene 5. This is where the secretive trick commences. Shakespeare uses visual humour, stage arrangements, dramatic irony and language to make this scene particularly dramatic. This is highlighted as the trick provides a humorous relief from the complexities of the love triangle. Near the start of the play Maria, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Feste's attempts to enjoy themselves would be ruined by Malvolio ordering them around: 'Have you no wit, manners nor honesty but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night?'

    • Word count: 2042

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Discuss the similarities and differences between Olivia and Viola in "Twelfth Night".

    "So then, to conclude, Shakespeare undoubtedly intended the audience to draw some parallels and recognise a number of similarities between the characters Viola and Olivia, which is suggested by the similarity of their names, their situation and their link with Orsino. However, this does not mean to say they are necessarily similar in character - as illustrated above they are clearly not. Viola is, amongst many things, practical, sensible, sympathetic and very much in control. In complete contrast, Olivia is emotional, sentimental and changeable. However, this does not mean to say that one character is better or worse than the other - though throughout the play Shakespeare makes it very clear that they posses different traits, ultimately they are "good" people, and this "finished product" is a great deal more important than the route taken by each in order to achieve this."

  • To what extent does Twelfth Night fit the genre of a romantic comedy?

    "In conclusion, we can see from many examples, that love twists the character's ideals and morals around, turning them into little more than fools, desperate to be with the ones they love. Throughout the play, the most common type of love shown, is the sexual lust the characters show for another, because most of the character's do not know their counterparts enough to love them on anything else other than appearance. In answer to the title of this essay, we can infer that Twelfth Night fits Shakespeare's genre of romantic comedy, almost perfectly. 4/12/02 English Coursework Essay"

Marked by a teacher

This document has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the document.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the document page.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student document reviewing squad. Read the full review under the document preview on this page.