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Twelfth Night

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Unlike some of Shakespeare's other plays, Twelfth Night should not be analyzed deeply. It is meant to be a light-hearted comedy. However, some lessons can still be learned. In Twelfth Night, the characters Malvolio, Olivia, and Sir Andrew express the theme that people are blind of their actions and refuse to see their faults until people or events force them to do so. The theme of the novel is most noticeably expressed through the character of Malvolio. Malvolio is Olivia's servant, a mere peasant, but thinks himself to be much more than that. He looks down on people who are of the same importance as him, such as Feste. This is illustrated when Olivia asks Malvolio of his opinion on Feste and he makes remarks about Feste as if he is so much greater than him. Olivia brings Malvolio's arrogance out in the open when she says, "O, you are sick of self love, Malvolio,"1 after his comment. ...read more.


She over exaggerates the death of her brother so that everyone will feel sorry for her and help her through her troubles.8 She says that she will wear black and a veil for seven years but the next day is no longer in such depression. She constantly turns down any of the Duke's servants who come to pursue her as she is not sympathetic for the Duke.9 She is not aware of how insensitive she is until Olivia herself falls madly in love with Cesario that she realizes her fault. She starts doing desperate things in order to see Cesario like when she sent Malvolio with the ring.10 Although Olivia tries to show that she is not madly in love with Cesario,11 when Cesario is about to leave, she can no longer hold the act and starts praising Cesario. She is so in love with Cesario that she doesn't want anything bad to happen to him. She is always trying to make a good impression on him. ...read more.


He thinks that when he wins the fight, Olivia will fall madly in love with him.17 When he hears that Cesario is a top-notch fighter with quite a temper, he tells Sir Toby to offer his horse to Cesario as a bribe so that he doesn't have to fight.18 This display of cowardliness proves how Sir Andrew is not only an idiot but a chicken as well. It is not until the end of the story, where Sir Toby tells Sir Andrew off, that Sir Andrew realizes his fault. Sir Toby refers to Sir Andrew as a "knave" and an "ass-head".19 After this, Sir Andrew leaves and doesn't return, realizing his idiocy. Malvolio, Olivia, and Sir Andrew were all blind of their faults until people or events instilled awareness in them. The practical joke on Malvolio enabled him to learn about his fault. Olivia's crush on Cesario helped her in realizing her flaw and making up for it. Sir Toby and his remarks towards Sir Andrew helped Sir Andrew discover his defects. The sub-title 'What you will' suggests a jovial title for this play. Therefore, this light-hearted theme fits in well with this comical play. ...read more.

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