Analysis Of Shakespeare's Play 'Twelfth Night'

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Twelfth Night coursework- Draft 1 Question: ' 'Plato argued that comedy blends pain with pleasure. How far do you agree with the view that Shakespeare has crafted 'Twelfth Night ' so that the audience feels both emotions? ' ' Shakespeare’s play ‘Twelfth Night’ was a dramatic comedy written at the beginning of the 17th century, towards the middle of his career. The title, ‘Twelfth Night’ is a reference to a celebration called epiphany, which occurred on the twelfth night of Christmas in Shakespearean times. During this festival, everything was turned upside down, and things were not as they appeared. The play is a transvestite comedy, which means that there are cross-dressing characters. Pleasure can be found in the play through the character of Duke Orsino. The naming of Orsino’s character is satirical, with Orsino being the name of a Spanish ambassador. At the time the play was written, tensions between England and Spain were high, and the English enjoyed mocking the Spanish. This encouraged the audience, many of which were poor, to laugh at aristocracy. The character comes across as pathetic, self-centred and conceited, which adds to the comedic element of the play. Our first impression of Orsino is him feeling sorry for himself, as his love for Olivia is unrequited. He is overfeeding his emotions with music, which is apparent in the opening few lines, ‘’if music be the food of love, play on…the appetite may sicken, and so die.’’, signifying how Orsino is very

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