Despite the fact that the play offers a happy ending, in which the various lovers find one another and achieve wedded bliss, Shakespeare shows that love can cause pain.
Letters, Messages, and Tokens Twelfth Night features a great variety of messages sent from one character to another—sometimes as letters and other times in the form of tokens. Such messages are used both for purposes of communication and miscommunication—sometimes deliberate and sometimes accidental.
But letters are not the only kind of messages that characters employ to communicate with one another. Individuals can be employed in the place of written communication—Orsino repeatedly sends Cesario, for instance, to deliver messages to Olivia.
Objects can function as messages between people as well: Olivia sends Malvolio after Cesario with a ring, to tell the page that she loves him, and follows the ring up with further gifts, which symbolize her romantic attachment.
Messages can convey important information, but they also create the potential for miscommunication and confusion—especially with characters like Maria and Sir Toby manipulating the information.
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 Cesariohe 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, and everyone must confront a reality that is somehow fractured. Disguises Many characters in Twelfth Night assume disguises, beginning with Viola, who puts on male attire and makes everyone else believe that she is a man.
By dressing his protagonist in male garments, Shakespeare creates endless sexual confusion with the Olivia-Viola--Orsino love triangle. Other characters in disguise include Malvolio, who puts on crossed garters and yellow stockings in the hope of winning Olivia, and Feste, who dresses up as a priest—Sir Topas—when he speaks to Malvolio after the steward has been locked in a dark room.
Feste puts on the disguise even though Malvolio will not be able to see him, since the room is so dark, suggesting that the importance of clothing is not just in the eye of the beholder.
For Feste, the disguise completes his assumption of a new identity—in order to be Sir Topas, he must look like Sir Topas. Viola puts on new clothes and changes her gender, while Feste and Malvolio put on new garments either to impersonate a nobleman Feste or in the hopes of becoming a nobleman Malvolio.
Through these disguises, the play raises questions about what makes us who we are, compelling the audience to wonder if things like gender and class are set in stone, or if they can be altered with a change of clothing.
Meanwhile, Antonio mistakes Viola for Sebastian, and thinks that his friend has betrayed him when Viola claims to not know him.A summary of Themes in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Twelfth Night and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. At the very end of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the object of Viola’s love, Orisino, asks for her hand in feelthefish.com this time Shakespeare has shaken the definition of a love and should the reader not be ready to accept the “happy ending” they would find a far more real story of opposing personalities and the illogical nature of love.
A summary of Themes in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Twelfth Night and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. The Twelfth Night: Gender Roles and Disguise Shakespeare often wrote his characters to portray literal and figurative disguises in order to accomplish some sort of goal.
This idea was exemplified and prevalent in The Twelfth Night; a Shakespearean comedy written between and In connection with the themes of deception, disguise, and performance, Twelfth Night raises questions about the nature of gender and sexual identity.
That Viola has disguised herself as a man, and that her disguise fools Olivia into . All of which makes William Shakespeare’s achievement in Twelfth Night truly remarkable. His cross-dressed heroine Viola – who calls herself a ‘monster’ in Act II, scene 2 – is no social pariah, but a glorious demonstration of the range of gender possibilities available to early modern people.