How Far Do You Agree That Nothing Is as It Seems in 'Twelfth Night'

Topics: William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Love Pages: 4 (1410 words) Published: June 24, 2013
“Nothing that is so is so.” To what extent do you agree with this in relation to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”? In Shakespeare’s comedy ‘Twelfth Night’, the main theme of disguise and façade is used to create comedy as the characters ‘conceal’ themselves. This adds to the confusion and consequently the characters, and at times the audience, are doubtful of what is real. Shakespeare makes it clear that ‘Twelfth Night’ is up for interpretation through the use of his double title ‘what you will’; he introduces the theme of ambiguity and therefore foreshadows the main concerns of the play and the idea that appearances do not always convey reality. Steven Holden describes the play as “A comic mediation on desire, disguise and inherent bisexuality “as in the present day, comedies are often thought of as being cheerful and light hearted. However in the Shakespearian era, comedies simply had resolution of conflict often being happy endings, even when the climax of the plays were dark and contained serious issues, a potential reading of the culmination of ‘Twelfth Night’. In the Shakespearian era, Twelfth Night was a festival where traditional roles were often relaxed, masters would wait on servants, men would dress as women, and inversion of the hierarchy took place in many ways. This convention of comedy is used throughout “Twelfth Night” in order to create humour for an audience of this time, as the façade of the individual characters and their feelings, leads to the confusion and chaos which, makes this play so humorous. The element of disguise in the play conforms to the idea that “nothing that is so, is so” and by using sibilance and repetition, Shakespeare makes Feste’s quote paramount. He uses the character of Feste to represent what the audience are thinking, and presents the idea that what you may see on the surface isn’t necessarily what is true. The way in which Shakespeare has the characters ”conceal” themselves both mentally and physically, raises...

Bibliography: Twelfth night by William Shakespeare
"Twelfth Night" (York Notes) David Pinnington (Author)
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Twelfth Night And As You Like It Essay
  • Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and "Twelfth Night". Essay
  • How Is Music Used in Twelfth Night Essay
  • Twelfth Night Essay
  • Twelfth Night Essay
  • Twelfth Night Essay
  • Essay about Twelfth Night
  • Twelfth Night Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free