“Twelfth night” as a comedy
* Main characters are from high social classes
Viola: a young woman of aristocratic birth
Orsino: Duke of Illyria, a powerful and noble man
Olivia : a wealthy, beautiful and Nobel Illyrian lady.
Sebastian: viola’s twin brother of aristocratic birth
* Mediterranean setting
The setting for Twelft Night is in Illyria, along the Adriatic Coast of Italy. A storm has caused a terrible shipwreck and main characters accidentally have met there. A magical place where anything can happen. A setting like this is popular with Shakespearean comedies because this type of setting allows comedic events to take place. Unlike a dark setting, with misery and ...view middle of the document...
Love is also exclusionary(ayrımcı): some people achieve romantic happiness, while others do not. At the end of the play, as the happy lovers rejoice, both Malvolio and Antonio are prevented from having the objects of their desire. Malvolio, who has pursued Olivia, must ultimately face the realization that he is a fool, socially unworthy of his noble mistress. Antonio is in a more difficult situation, as social norms do not allow for the gratification of his apparently sexual attraction to Sebastian. Love, thus, cannot conquer all obstacles.
Madness: No one is truly insane in Twelfth Night, yet a number of characters are accused of being mad, and a current of insanity or zaniness runs through the action of the play. After Sir Toby and Maria dupe Malvolio into believing that Olivia loves him, Malvolio behaves so bizarrely that he is assumed to be mad and is locked away in a dark room. Malvolio himself knows that he is sane, and he accuses everyone around him of being mad. Meanwhile, when Antonio encounters Viola (disguised as Cesario), he mistakes her for Sebastian, and his angry insistence that she recognize him leads people to assume that he is mad. All of these incidents feed into the general atmosphere of the play, in which normal life is thrown topsy-turvy(karmakarışık), and everyone must confront a reality that is somehow fractured(kırık,çatlak).
* Play within the play
Maria has an idea: to play a practical joke on malyolio. As she explains to Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, Malvolio is a puritan, but at the same time his biggest weakness is his enormous ego: he believes that everybody loves him. Maria will use that weakness to get her revenge on him for spoiling their fun. Since Maria’s handwriting is almost identical to Olivia’s, Maria plans to leave letters lying around that will appear to have come from Olivia and will make Malvolio think that Olivia is in love with him. Maria has written a letter carefully designed to trick him into thinking that Olivia is in love with him. She drops the letter in the garden path, where Malvolio will see it. She exits, while the three men hide among the trees and shrubbery.Malvolio approaches on the path, talking to himself. He speaks of Olivia: it seems that he already thinks it possible that she might be in love with him. He is deep in a fantasy of what it would be like to be Olivia’s husband and the master of her house. He would have power over all the other servants and even over Sir Toby. Sir Toby and the others can’t help jeering at Malvolio’s pride from their hiding place, but they do it softly so that he will not overhear them and realize that they are there.Malvolio spots the letter lying in the garden path. He mistakes Maria’s handwriting for Olivia’s, as Maria has predicted, and Malvolio thinks that the letter is from Olivia. Apparently, Maria sealed the letter with Olivia’s sealing ring to make the letter look even more authentic. To Sir Toby’s pleasure, Malvolio decides to read it...