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GCSE: Twelfth Night

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    Mistaken Identity in Twelfth Night.

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    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. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. In Twelfth Night, what are your Impressions of Malvolio and do you think he is treated too harshly?

    Have you no wit, manners nor honesty but to gabble like tinkers at this time of the night? Do ye make an alehouse of my lady's house that ye squeak out your coziers' catches without any mitigation or remorse of voice? Is there no respect of place, persons, nor time in you?" This statement makes him sound like a killjoy, but isn't Malvolio speaking sense? The fact is that the three drunkards in Olivia's house (who is mourning her brother's death) are actually being noisy, thoughtless and selfish. Olivia's maid Maria becomes involved, and clearly she isn't a friend to Malvolio, as she herself has made one or two remarks about him: "What a caterwauling do you keep here!

    • Word count: 1095
  11. Twelfth Night

    Self deception to some is funny as it plays on the dramatic irony idea, as the character self deceiving themself is not aware they are doing so unlike the audience who do know about it. Malvolio is a character that tends to be picked on by Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Feste and Maria. Sir Toby and Maria deceive Malvolio by use of forged handwriting. Maria writes a letter to Malvolio pretending to be Olivia, who he admires, telling him to smile, "put thyself into the trick of singularity", when around her also her must wear yellow stockings.

    • Word count: 1120
  12. Samuel Johnson criticised 'Twelfth Night' because it 'lacked credibility and failed to present a true picture of life' so is 'Twelfth Night' just a pantomime?

    masters become servants and servants had control of their masters. It was a time of excitement for everyone. But sadly it was a momentary pleasure for as soon as the sixth of January came round times went back to normal. 'Twelfth Night' has elements from mummer's plays dating back as far as the thirteenth century and even has elements the same as today's pantomimes. The elements included are cross-dressing, bawdy humour and daft slapstick sword fights. Traditionally in mummers plays there are men dressing as women e.g. dames and this is also present in pantomimes. 'Twelfth Night' also has this humorous factor as Viola cross-dresses as Cesario.

    • Word count: 1032
  13. In this passage we see the hilarious results of Maria's deception, which bears fruit in Malvolio's alleged madness. The trio's -Maria, Fabian, and Sir Toby- mockingly

    What is more, Malvolio, who prides himself as a man of religion, is seemingly regarded as a man now possessed by the devil, and to see someone who looked down upon others as faithless sinners, so treated is really quite amusing. The manner in which Maria twists Malvolio's words around so that it seems that he is offended when they 'speak ill of the devil' is quite clever and hence amusing. Words like 'defy the devil', 'hang him, foul collier!'

    • Word count: 1220
  14. Explore how Shakespeare uses Dramatic Irony to Create a Humorous Situation in "Twelfth Night"

    In Twelfth Night there are many themes and one of them is love, this creates humour because the characters don't really know who they are supposedly falling in love with enabling dramatic irony to form. Also love in this play is shown as a joke; this is because the characters are falling in love and most of the love is unrequited love such as: Malvolio loves Olivia but Olivia loves Cesario, who is actually Viola who loves Orsino, however Orsino loves Olivia.

    • Word count: 1158
  15. According to Northrop Frye in The Educated Imagination, literary conventions are typical patterned ways of writing that happen repeatedly over time in the world of literature. To write stories, the writers imitate other people's work

    An illustration of the hero's journey convention, for example, is the story of Hercules in Greek mythology, found in the award-winning movie about a Roman hero, The Gladiator; the Cinderella story convention is found in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night play, and both also illustrate the cyclic story of the loss and regaining of identity. An early example of the hero's journey convention in which the hero progresses through the life cycle of success, failures, and then back to success is the story of Hercules.

    • Word count: 1300
  16. In what way does act 1 scene 5 of Twelfth Night prepare the audience for events that happen in the rest of the play?

    The accepted view of love in the Elizabethan times was that personal preference was unimportant, and it was up to parents and relatives to arrange their sons and daughters marriages amongst upper class and rich families in order to level or uphold their wealth, land and power. Shakespeare proved otherwise in this play as we saw the rich countess lady Olivia fall in love with the servant Cesario. Aside in a soliloquy Olivia reveals her love affections for Viola, "...catch the play Methinks I feel this youths perfections".

    • Word count: 1599
  17. "Twelfth Night"

    Conventionally a Shakespearean comedy has a confusion of identity which the audience may or may not know about. This adds another dimension to the play as the audience know something which the characters do not and are willing the characters to figure out the confusion. Shakespeare includes comic characters as well as more serious ones. The audience are encouraged to laugh at these characters while they would laugh with the others. Comic characters speak in prose and often the audience find it easier to relate with them as they are more 'normal'. Another convention of a Shakespearian comedy is a happy ending much like a fairy tale and Shakespeare used songs and music to convey this felling of joyfulness.

    • Word count: 1206
  18. "He hath been most notoriously abused" How far do you agree with Olivia that Malvolio has been unjustly treated in the play?

    In the play there is a rather pompous servant by the name of Malvolio and during the play a questionably 'funny' joke is played on him. Malvolio is the person who tries to enforce and maintain the rules and therefore spoil all the festive fun. However another servant, Maria, along with Sir Toby Belch and Andrew Aguecheek play a joke on him, which is later (perhaps) taken too far. Malvolio is also very officious he values status and reputation. Malvolio's name means "bad desires" or "bad intentions."; his name seems to reflect his personality.

    • Word count: 1330
  19. Make notes on the characters of Viola and Sebastian. What is their importance as characters within the play? In "Twelfth Night", Viola's character comes across stronger than Sebastian's

    Viola's selflessness also come across at the start of the play where she falls in love with Orsino but to make him happy she still tries to woo Olivia for him even though she wants to be with him and not her. Once we meet Sebastian in Act 2 he comes across as a grateful kind person when he is thanking Antonio who saved him from drowning. "My determinate voyage is mere extravagancy. But I perceive in you so excellent a touch of modesty that you will not extort me from what I am willing to keep in."

    • Word count: 1840
  20. Do the Three Characters trapped in the 'Love Triangle' all get what they deserve?

    There are other lies that she tells throughout the play, which could give the reader an impression that she is a liar. Viola falls into a trap immediately when she starts to feel attracted towards the Duke Orsino, she is at this time disguised as Cesario and the duke is wondering why he is having feelings for this other man. Viola thinks she won't be able to get the Duke Orsino, this could be for a number of reasons but two of these are because of background.

    • Word count: 1606
  21. Throughout Twelfth Night deception caused confusion between many characters, but the one character that remain in the centre of this confusion was Viola. The deception was caused because of her outward appearance

    She in turn falls in love with Viola's counterpart Cesario. Olivia's love is revealed when she sends her servant Malvolio to return a ring, which Viola never gave to her. She says, "Run after that same peevish messenger, The County's man. He left this ring behind him... I do I know not what, and fear to find Mine eye to great a flatterer for my mind. Fate show thy force." This shows her love for Cesario and how she secretly lets her know. When Viola realises what has happened she immediately realises the love triangle which has occurred.

    • Word count: 1336
  22. In Shakespeare's time women were generally thought of as inferior to men. In "Twelfth night" does the playwright suggest that he may not accept this idea and how does he show the audience this?

    She will cry in her room everyday, she loved her brother so much that she was willing to keep his memory alive by mourning for seven years, this shows the very strong character she held, as this was an almost impossible task. Women were thought of as inferior at the time the play was written. Women were ruled by the men of the household, but because Olivia's father and brother have died she has no-one to rule her life, this shows her strength as she has taken advantage of this, by ruling her own household and servants by herself.

    • Word count: 1071
  23. This essay will be exploring how Malvolio is a strong victim for humour, how Shakespeare shapes the audiences perception of Malvolio

    Malvolio's strange conduct first becomes apparent in Act 2 Scene 3. Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Feste are drinking and singing. It is very late; they are very drunk and very loud. Maria comes in to quiet them down, but it's all just too exciting and she doesn't want to end the fun everyone is having at the party. Typically Malvolio ruins the evening with his bad temper and scolding, 'My masters, are you mad? Or what are you? Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night?'

    • Word count: 1554
  24. To what extent can you feel sympathy for Malvolio

    Then, 6 lines after he says: 'I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a barren rascal.' 1.5 l.67 This line really shows that he thinks of Feste as a 'barren rascal' and that he is really arrogant the way he looks down on Feste. He also tries to get Olivia away from Feste when he says the line, and he is basically saying 'I am amazed that you like being with such a worthless joker.' As Malvolio loves Olivia, he wants her all to him self. This is a problem for Cesario because Malvolio sees him as competition because he is young and handsome. He shows this in 1.5 l.115, when he dismisses Cesario several times.

    • Word count: 1414
  25. The first speech that Orsino gives us an idea on how his love towards Olivia , this shows his fickle personality because in the first line he asks to be fed with love, and asks for music which then gives us that he's "romantic"

    No more, 't is not as sweet as it was before", Another way I could prove this is when he uses metaphorical phrases, "Music maybe the food of love ", also used similes, "like the sweet sound". "Enough no more... Sweet as it was before" Orsino's view of love is that he is in love with love itself and he doesn't care who it is as long as there is love in his life that he can hear songs and talk about how love could be painful and hurtful to him.

    • Word count: 1132

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"

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