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

Investigate the importance of "madness" as a theme in Twelfth Night

Extracts from this document...


Investigate the importance of "madness" as a theme in Twelfth Night. Madness is a very important theme that is present in the whole course of the play Twelfth Night. Firstly, we have Malvolio almost turning mad because of the cruel joke the other servants play on him. They make him think he is mad and they also make Olivia think he is mad because of the funny way in which he is acting. There is also the theme of mad love. Some examples of this are Orsino being madly in love with Olivia, Olivia being madly in love with Cesario/Viola and Viola falling madly in love with Orsino. This mad love makes Orsino mad from "a savage jealousy" when he realises Olivia's love for Cesario/Viola. Another very important aspect of madness present in the play is confusion and chaos which lead to madness. A very good example of this is everyone mistaking Sebastian for Viola and viceversa which creates very confusing situations for the characters. ...read more.


Love and loving madly are quite important in Twelfth Night. The audience can see various examples of being madly in love throughout the play. Orsino's "unconditional" love for Olivia is one of them. He claims to have his "desires like fell and cruel hounds" pursue him ever since he first saw her. He sends Cesario to "unfold the passion of [his] love" and "surprise her with discourse of [his] dear faith". However, his love turns into "a savage jealousy" and mad anger and reaches a point where he says "I'll sacrifice the lamb that I do love, to spite a raven's heart within a dove" as he realises Olivia is in love with Cesario/Viola. This is another example of being madly in love. Olivia falls desperately in love with Cesario/Viola reaching a point where she declares "nor wit nor reason can my passion hide" which is quite an expression of mad love and even admits it is "a most extraordinary frenzy". ...read more.


How am I beguiled!"). There is also much confusion when Sir Andrew and Sir Toby fight Sebastian thinking he is Cesario/Viola. Sir Andrew accuses Viola of breaking his head but she says "I never hurt you" and the situation becomes even more confusing when Sebastian enters and everyone sees "one face, one voice, one habit, and two persons- a natural perspective, that is and is not!" Feste also creates much confusion when he acts as a "corrupter of words" specially when he pretends to be a priest - Sir Topas - and confuses Malvolio almost to the point of madness when he talks about "windows transparent as barricadoes" and clerestories "as lustrous as ebony" which of course makes no sense at all. He also plays with words to laugh at other people's actions such as Olivia mourning for her "brother's soul being in heaven" which makes them seem mad. Madness is a very important theme in Twelfth Night as it is constantly present in the characters' feelings (anger, jealousy, love), in confusing situations which are vital to the play and in making other characters seem mad. By: Alejandra Garrido ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Twelfth Night essays

  1. The Theme of Love in Twelfth Night

    She is a very confident character and thinks highly of herself. As soon as Cesario comes into her life she immediately breaks the vow of not coming out for seven years as she has fallen in love with him. This is an example of dramatic irony and is funny, as the audience know that Cesario is really a woman.

  2. How does Shakespeare explore the theme of love in Twelfth Night(TM)?

    characters; Olivia and Sebastian portray this type of love, as Olivia does not really love Sebastian, but is in fact in love with his sister, but settles for him because of their similar appearance, 'So comes it, lady, you have been mistook'. Sebastian also marries Olivia without really loving her.

  1. A close, critical analysis of Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' with regard to relating a particular ...

    This also ties in with another possible meaning of 'the haggard, [checking] at every feather.' This could have vaguely alluded to the ailing Queen and her changing selection of favourites, many of whom did her country no good at all.

  2. Choose 2 scenes in Twelfth Night and state how you would direct them

    A love song!". Then, Sir Andrew follows suit, exaggerating his jump from his seat, and says, "Ay, ay; I care not for good life". Here, the audience sees once again the blind following of Sir Andrew. Following this, Feste takes up his instrument and starts singing the song.

  1. Using the text to support your ideas investigate the importance of "madness" as a ...

    Sir Toby who thinks Sebastian is Viola attacks him. Then Olivia invites Sebastian to marry her and Sebastian has no idea what is happening so he thinks he must be mad or in a dream, but then he realises he isn't. He then thinks that Olivia might be mad but rules that idea out, as she wouldn't be able to keep her house in such order if she was.

  2. With references to four characters of your choice, discuss the various ways the theme ...

    He needs a messenger to go and woo her. He asks Cesario (Viola) to be his messenger, thereforeshe has to go to Olivia's house and woo her. Orsino tells Cesario that 'he' has got to wait at Olivia's house until 'he' is allowed in.

  1. Which is the most important aspect of love demonstrated in the play Twelfth Night?

    This promise lasts but a few days when she realises that it has made Orsino's love for her stronger, also, as soon as she sees Cesario, she takes her veil off. When Cesario describes her beauty, she replies "I will give out divers schedules of my beauty", enforcing the point that she is obsessed with herself.

  2. Discuss the Various Forms of Love in Twelfth Night

    speaking his own graces. He has delusions of grandeur and fantasises about one day becoming 'Count Malvolio', meaning he has intentions on his mistress. He includes in his speech sexual references towards Olivia that anger those watching: 'Having come from a day-bed, where I have left Olivia sleeping' (II.5.41).

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