Witty, dark and humorous, Twelfth Night is a comedy written by Shakespeare and published in 1623. Shakespeare explores love and deception throughout the play, using dramatic irony and imagery to convey the themes. He presents unique characters including viola and Orsino. Twelfth night is an entertaining and humorous play with dark undertones.
Romantic love is a key aspect of the twelfth night. Many characters seem to view love as a curse. Olivia describes love as a “plague” from which she suffers. Even though characters claim to be in love, many are simply infatuated. By the end, most characters have achieved the person of their affections but not everyone is so lucky. Disguise is a pivotal feature in the comedy. Concealment is the thread which runs through the play from start to end and holds it all together. Disguise is used to portray comedy, affection and also to give information to the audience without the characters knowing. The characters in twelfth night are all realistic and have different perspectives on various issues, especially love. Orsino is the powerful Duke who’s trying to woo Olivia. The following quote is when the duke first saw her: I turned into a heart; and my desires, like cruel hounds, pursue me. Orsino imagines the pursuit of himself in a fantasy that is all about him. Therefore this quote helps to understand the main feature of orsino’s personality: he is self-centred. Viola is Twelfth Night's gender-bending heroine. She seems to truly be in love compared to the other characters that jump from one romance to the next. The following quote is about Orsino: She never told her love, But let concealment Feed on her cheek. This quote is very ironic because Viola almost reveals her love for the duke and addresses the aspect of concealment. By dressing Viola as a male, Shakespeare blurres together the boundaries of gender and presents a lovable protagonist. Dramatic Irony is a powerful technique employed in twelfth night. The following...
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