Literature Essay: Twelfth Night; the Essence of Dramatic Elements

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Disguise is the source of theatrical appeal in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Discuss the validity of this statement.

Michael Pennington describes Twelfth Night as a typical Romantic Comedy with a sublime sense of inconcsequentiality amidst the lyrical nature that plagues its environment. Therefore it is none other than that of a romantic comedy, and by definition, seeks the usage of a most humourous yet vital factor that shapes the events that are to occur; Disguise. Disguise indeed gives rise to theatrical appeal and as Graham atkin identifies, poses a most poignant question of human identity in relation to outward realist appearance. Nonetheless, there is a diversity of opinion as to whether disguise is the primary source for such a comedic sequence of events to unravel as the play goes on. In fact, there are other elements that facilitate the foundation upon which disguise is rooted that creates and shapes what is in fact Twelfth Night; plot, character, dialogue, theme, music and speactacle.

Freytag’s theory delineates that a play is sibject to 5 acts upon which the 1st Act, the exposition, establishes the plot and enlightens the audience on what is to be expected.. All characters give rise to their functions and roles in this act. However, revelation of the characters are not confined to the first act alone. Such a contradiction is concretized in Act 2 scene 1 when the audience is acquainted with Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother, alive from the shipwreck and destined to enter voyage of “mere extravagancy”. To an Elizabethan audience, this is indeed most intriguing for Shakespeare to disclose another subplot in the second Act. Such an event that occurs gives rise in essence to dramatic effect, stuning the audience and fuelling their plight to know what will come again. Furthermore, the fact that it is a comedy, also know as “What You will’ unveils a deeper meaning. History notes that Twelfth Niight was written in 1601 for pure entertainment, at Christmas...
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