Traditionally in the merry-making of the Twelfth Night celebrations, the order is overturned. Explore the ways in which order is disrupted in the play.

Topics: Twelfth Night, Elizabethan era, Comedy Pages: 4 (1403 words) Published: November 7, 2013
In the play, Twelfth Night, Shakespeare illustrates the traditional merry-making and social disorder, which occurred upon the Feast of Fools, or the Twelfth Night of Christmas. It is during this time that the normality and social roles of status was reversed, and thus, overturned, in that servants would become Masters, and Masters, servants. In short, this day was a time, where the usual flow of laws, rules and class difference was generally ignored, and therefore, led to a lapse of disorder.

Shakespeare's Twelfth Night seemingly echoes a number of aspects, relating to the theory and traditions of such a festival, through his use of mistaken identity, madness, deception, and love.

Within Act One, Scene 2, the character of Viola is introduced, and along with this, the beginnings of chaos starts to unfold. Upon her arrival in the Illyria, Viola encounters the Captain, and asks him to 'conceal me what I am, and be my aid' (I.ii.52), which insinuates her plans to dismiss the normal structures of society; more importantly, these gestures are to secure her self-preservation in Illyria. Through cross-dressing, Viola crosses the boundaries of what was expected of women during the Elizabethan Era, and therefore, the disrupted of order in Twelfth Night is introduced. Through the appearance of Cesario, Viola evidently acquires the privileges of male roles during the time, in which the play is set. As the play develops, dramatic irony is heightened amongst the audience, as they perceive the influence Viola's disguise holds on the people of Illyria. Shakespeare included this in his play, to suggest his belief that gender is far from a stable normality, whether it be in his time or in the present day.

Further chaos is heightened, when 'Cesario', now a servant-boy of Orsino, is sent to woo Olivia on the Duke's part. Disguised, Viola finds herself falling in love with Orsino, and determinedly voicing that' Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife'(I.iv.42). With this,...
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