Twelfth Night Essay Questions On Comedy

Twelfth Night Essay Questions On Comedy-74
Orsino describes her as having lips like 'Diane's' and a voice much like a 'maiden's organ' and in fact 'all is semblative [of] a woman's part' and yet he fails to recognise the truth of his own words.

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This is then verified by the excessive nature of his declarations of love for Olivia despite her repeated rejections of him in the past.

His commands to 'be clamorous' at the doors of a house in mourning are utterly inappropriate according to Elizabethan mourning conventions, (although his self-absorption prevents him from recognising this).

Moreover, the intimacy of the dialogue between Viola and Orsino, despite the presence of others on stage who are comically ignored, and despite the personal nature of the topic under discussion, could well suggest a romantic affection on the part of the Duke.

This is only strengthened by his complimentary description of her lips as 'smooth and rubious', which in their romantic and flattering connotations, all hint at his underlying attraction as do his regular use of terms of endearment such as 'dear lad' and 'good youth'.

In contrast to Orsino, Viola's words are far more measured and brief perhaps displaying the sincerity of her feelings.

She reasons with him that Olivia may be 'abandoned in her sorrow' for example.

Viola was last seen telling the captain that she would serve the duke 'as an eunuch' and her disguise now shows that time has passed and that she is determined and resourceful.

There is an element of humour in Valentine's initial comments concerning the 'favours' that the Duke has already shown Viola that could well imply Orsino's fascination with her, (something that is perhaps confirmed by the trust he now places in her as his amorous messenger).

Viola's appearance dressed as a boy would potentially create an immediate sense of comedy and dramatic confusion given the fact that the role would have been played by a male actor in the sixteenth century.

The use of disguise also contributes to the thematic concern of mistaken identity which perhaps reaches its apex when Olivia marries Sebastian and when Sir Andrew duels with him (both believing Sebastian is Cesario).


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