12th Night Essay

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Did Shakespeare’s characters get what they deserve? To what extent? The majority of Shakespeare’s characters did not get what they deserved in the end, there definitely is a strong scent of injustice that hangs in the air around Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. This, however, does not mean that it made life harder for his characters. In quite a few cases, it actually leaves them better off. Nevertheless, this is not to say that they are not punished for their wrong deeds, sometimes in ways that are completely unfair. Shakespeare shows us painful truth of the injustice that exits within humanity. In the case of Malvolio, we are quick to act, but not to investigate. We also learn that love can fix many things, but it can also tear them apart, as we see with Olivia, Orsino, Sebastian and Viola. Also, as seen through the character of Antonio, bad things can be forgotten if a good enough deed replaces it. As many of us know, humanity is infamous for their willingness to judge and act against a person before they fully investigate the situation; Malvolio is just one example of this. We are aware that Malvolio did treat others in a derogatory manner, “Go hang yourselves all! You are idle, shallow things; I am not of your element,” – Malvolio, Act 3 Scene 4. He never actually incapacitated anyone; he never broke the law or strayed from his duties. He was simply just a spiteful individual and did not deserve to be imprisoned in a cage for however many hours of his life. I feel that this was an extreme measure and in the end, it may have inflicted more anger and discourtesy towards Sir Andrew, Sir Toby and Maria, reversing the entire effect their ‘plan’ was intended to make. When the truth was eventually exposed, and Malvolio freed after facing an invalid punishment, he was understandably furious, proclaiming, “I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you!” – Malvolio, Act 5 Scene 1. Perhaps this was a harsh act of karma, all we know is that Olivia was quick to accuse him...
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