A2 - Twelfth Night Watch

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Report Thread starter 7 years ago
I know it's a while away but I thought it might be useful to have atopic for people to discuss Twelfth Night. I'm on the OCR board.

I've foraged this off the examiner's reports from the previous years if anyone's interested:

‘Feste embodies a sense of ironic detachment and loneliness.’

Feste’s songs and his repartee proceed from a ‘dark irony’. ‘Loneliness’ is important because of Feste’s unique status in the play, moving between families and situations but never entirely being part of any of them. He, however, has a vital part in the play by being able to connect with the audience, who are also detached from the other characters. There are fools in other plays (Fool in King Lear = serious fool and provides a commentary / Erasmus in In Praise of Folly = utters critical truths / Speed in Two Gentlemen of Verona = witty and intelligent) who are in a similar position to Feste, suggesting loneliness and detachment comes with the title of the ‘fool’

‘The play’s dramatic impact springs from deception and disguise.’

There are huge implications with gender change, the fluidity and misrule caused by Viola’s attempts to perform her chosen role, and even more productively, the ambiguity of a boy playing a girl playing a boy. Malvolio is also deceived as is Feste in his clerical role. Talk about ‘dramatic impact’ and about the misrule and licence associated with ‘twelfth night’, and the play’s transformative effects.

By exploring the dramatic presentation of Malvolio in TN, evaluate the view that although comic at first glance, he is essentially a pitiful figure.

The audience initially sympathises with Feste and the other figures e.g. Sir Toby involved in a drunken festival type atmosphere, and Malvolio's arrogance and Puritanical influence, and his placement in opposition to those characters, turns him into a figure who we are distant from as an audience and so (because of that) one we can laugh at. There’s also a comedic value in the box-tree scene and how his continued arrogance and the 'gulling' just makes him more comedic, until when Sir Toby says "We'll have him in a dark room and bound" or in the Sir Topas scene, we eventually start to turn and sympathise with Malvolio as he's been reduced to such a piteous figure. Reference bear-baiting and how he is made to be the bear who is baited, and Shakespeare wants us to question, as an audience, our taste for blood in entertainment.

By exploring the dramatic presentation of Viola in Twelfth Night, evaluate the view that ‘honesty and directness, more than anything else, set this character apart.’

Viola isn’t honest or direct; her disguise causes chaos for herself and others. Also, other characters are honest, like Feste.

‘Ideas of loss and recovery are absolutely central to the play.’ Evaluate this view by considering ways in which loss and recovery are explored in Twelfth Night.

There certainly is loss in the play, but recovery? No. The play becomes increasingly dark and Feste’s final cynicism highlights this. Also, the mockery and topsy-turvy hierarchy wasn’t something good to return to, and also that the escapism Illyria provides means some may not want to return to reality.

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