Shakespeare: Blog Post 1 (Twelfth Night)

Twelfth Night (about 1602)

Blog posts due & Presentations: Monday, March 25

Group 1: A key theme in the play is deception, where people show a false front. Are they justified in doing so?

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing Twelfth Night. Choose one topic, or make your post a reply to someone else’s post.
For the presentations, choose one topic per group. Your presentation must present an opinion or argument; it cannot just summarize the story. You must e-mail or speak to me before your presentation to have it approved.

  1. Are the play’s characters sympathetic when everyone changes their mind and plays so many tricks on each other? Who is the best character?
  2. Orsino is maybe more in love with “love” than with Olivia, and yet Viola falls in love with him. Why does she? What are his good qualities?
  3. A key theme in the play is deception, where people show a false front to others or themselves. Are they justified in doing so?
  4. Why do the other characters dislike Malvolio so much? Why does Olivia put up with him?
  5. Discuss how the songs and music in the play explain or relate to the story’s action or ideas.
  6. Discuss Feste. He is a clown but is probably the smartest person in the story. Why would Shakespeare do this?
  7. Is it right for Sebastian to marry Olivia so impulsively, when she thinks that she is marrying Cesario?
  8. Choose a character and show how that character changes throughout the play, and why.
  9. Does the play teach a lesson or have a moral to it? What is it?

13 thoughts on “Shakespeare: Blog Post 1 (Twelfth Night)

  1. Dong Jun, Jang

    1. Discuss Feste. He is a clown but is probably the smartest person in the story. Why would Shakespeare do this?

    When the inventor tries to make something new, there need an intend. Feste is a virtual character who is made by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. So, Feste must have its role like others though he is less important than. Then why did Shakespeare make him as the smartest person in the play?

    In my opinion, ‘Ironical situation’ is the most thought what Shakespeare had. In his period, Hierarchical society, many people thought that upper classes’ intelligence and ability are much higher than lowers. However, if you look Toby or Andrew, you might notice that the clown exploits them with his own ability. This looks quite ironical.

    Secondly, the reason he the smartest is just for fun. It is important to make play’ mood a little bit lighter when it starts to be boring. By letting Feste play language, viewers can release their mind, and can also concentrate on the play. Because ‘Playing language’ demands an intelligence beyond the certain, he should be made as the smart.

    1. Bae Sung Wook

      In group of people, there is some effect that if one person is too bad or too good that person makes people around of him higlithed or downgraded. In this play, Feste is described as a stupidest person and that makes characters of the play highlited. But that was not Shakespeare’s intention. Feste, who has been described as the most comical and stupid in the play, makes the reader wonder when he is making a very sharp remark in the middle of the play. This was Shakespeare’s intention. The character that was considered the stupidest was actually considered the wisest person in the play. And this makes the characters around Feste downgraded. I think Shakespeare wanted to show that characters of Twelfth Night were doing funny and stupid behavior than clown who considered as stupidest person.

      Also his job as a clown shows his character very well. A clown is a job that always smiles hiding his face and makes a joke about something. I think Shakespeare established Feste considering the nature of clown.

  2. Jae Hyun, Kim

    Question 4. Why do the other characters dislike Malvolio so much? Why does Olivia put up with him?

    In this play, nearly all of the characters dislike Malvolio. Even Maria and Feste look down on him. Maybe Malvolio had a characteristic that people and writer did not like at the time. Then, what is it?

    That’s because he was a Puritan. Like other Puritans, he has a strict moral code without making a joke and always serious. We can find it Malvolio criticizing Sir Toby, Andrew and Peste when they were drinking in a loud voice at night.

    Maybe Olivia knew this Malvolio’s personality and she also has conviction that other people dislike him. It wouldn’t have been difficult for a wealthy person to get a new, more smart butler.
    But why Olivia put up with him? That’s Because Malvolio nag and even condemn to Sir Toby.
    He also act as a medium for conveying Olivia’s thoughts and warning to Toby. That’s why Olivia kept him by her side until the end.

  3. Gun Hee, Cho

    Q8. Choose a character and show how that character changes throughout the play, and why.

    I think Malvolio is the most changed character throughout the play.
    Malvolio is a typical puritan-character. He’s stiff and playless, and also act so rude to others that “doesn’t fit ” with his standards.

    Malvolio called the Fool “stupid troublemaker” when Olivia told him to take the Fool away, and criticized him with talking about jesters. But even Olivia corrected Malvolio’s thoughts about jesters directly.
    Malvolio also acted so rude to Viola. After she talked to Olivia, Malvolio chased Viola and threw the ring that he told to give back.

    Malvolio started to change after reading a letter that Olivia wrote for him (Maria penned it). He started to act as the letter told to. By this time, I thought maybe his acting (rude to Fool and Viola) was also to impress his lord Olivia. Because he transformed just after he got that letter.

    Not only Malvolio himself changed so much, the way we see him also did as the play countinues.
    He’s not a main character in the love-triangle between Olivia, Orsino and Viola in Twelfth Night.
    But he’s an attractive one too.

  4. Alina Kim

    Q. A key theme in the play is deception, where people show a false front to others or themeselves. Are they justified in doing so?
    While reading the Twelfth Night, I was wondering why almost all characters in the play used deception. After reading the play I think that the characters used deception for a variety of purposes. For example, the first deception I found in the play is that of the character of Viola. Viola’s usage of deception involves her changing as a man caused a love triangle between Orsino, Viola, and Olivia. I think that Viola’s decision to falsify her identity was not an act to manipulate or punish others, but rather a means of survival. While someone use deception to trick others and make them act foolishly. Another example of deception is when Maria writes a letter to Malvolio, Maria says in the letter that Olivia loves man in yellow stockings, so Malvolio dress up in yellow stockings and goes to see Olivia. When Olivia sees Malvolio, she thinks that he is insane. What I noticed in Shakespeare’s plays is that many plays includes a lot of deception and it makes his play more attractive to the readers.

  5. Yoo Jieun

    Q. Orsino is maybe more in love with “love” than with Olivia, and yet Viola falls in love with him. Why does she?

    Viola would see Orsino’s love as true love because it isn’t the 21 century. Unlike today there was no Wifi or SNS to contact or post our daily life. So at that time Orsino’s way of confessing to Olivia would have been through roomers and messengers and to make sure how much he loves her, Orsino must have over reacted about his feelings. It might not have been planed but it would have been something naturally done at that time.

    Viola being the messenger of Orsino must have had plenty of time to think about his emotions toward Oliva, because that was her job. To think about how much he loves Olivia and explain it to her. During that process it would have been highly possible that Viola would have thought about Orsino a lot and made her look twice about his charms and eventually fall in love with Orsino.

  6. Byung hyuk, Bae

    Q9. Does the play teach a lesson or have a moral to it? What is it?

    The answer is ‘yes’. Because this play shows facts that ‘Even fools are not useless’, ‘If a person have a lover, he or she should not disguise gender which is opposition of his or hers’.

    The former is can be explained by a fool whose name is Feste. Because without Feste, the play would not be funny and humorous either. He also has the key that can solve the main problem in the play. In other words, he is pretend to be silly for the audience who enjoyed the play. That’s why he is not useless in the play.

    The latter is can be explained by the main character whose name is Viola. She disguised as Cerasio whose gender is a male. As a result, most of characters even her true lover Orsino were fooled by her so easily and a misunderstanding has happened among most of characters. So, in my opinion, although the play has a happy ending, Disguising is unnecessary in the play. Because not only disguising makes the play is funny, but also humor and satire does too. Therefore the play would have been better than now if the play has not disguising but more satire.

  7. Dae Myeong, Lee

    Q. Does the play teach a lesson or have a moral to it? What is it?

    Almost all the plays tend to give people some lessons that we haven’t thought about a lot in our life. So does this play ‘The Twelfth Night’. It might be hard to find a lesson in this play, because it can be easily thought of just the play in which lots of funny situations and characters are. But, I figured that Shakespeare is trying to let us know that there exists a destiny and importance of looking for the real love.

    In the beginning of the play, Orsino was totally in love with Olivia. Although he was into her, he doesn’t do anything. He just sent Viola as the messenger who shows how much he love her. Interestingly, Orsino was finally married to Viola not Olivia, because his true love was to Viola. The same thing happened to Olivia as well. Olivia knew that Orsino liked her. However, in the end of the play, she got married to Sebastian whom she muddled up as Cesario.

    The reason why these two people didn’t work out is that they are not real love each other. I think the lesson in The Twelfth Night is to keep looking around and do our best to find our true love.

  8. ByungJun Park

    Q. Are the play’s characters sympathetic when everyone changes their mind and plays so many tricks on each other? Who is the best character?

    A.
    At first, I felt that the tricks were too much. However as the play goes on, I found out that it was the overall atmosphere of the play. I think Shakespeare intentionally wrote the play this crazy way. By writing in this concept, he was being sarcastic about the society. Olivia didn’t kept her promise that she said at the beginning of the play: she would not marry to any man for 3 years. Sir Andrew was a knight without any power or courage. Also, Sir Toby was treated like a drunkard by his family members.
    Among these characters, my favorite one was Sir Toby. I felt he was somewhat like me. I tend to regard everything as a joke(not as bad as he is). However, i believe there’s other role that he take part. He helps the play to run more smoothly and he relaxes the mood of the play. I think this is a great role in the play. Sir Toby is the one who drives the play as Shakespeare intended.

  9. Song Yoo Hyeong

    Q7: Is it right for Sebastian to marry Olivia so impulsively, when she thinks that she is marrying Cesario?

    A: I don’t think it’s that impulsive; in fact, I’d like to say it is so clever for Sebastian to do so. We have to remember that he got shipwrecked and just landed on Illyria he’d never been to. He has nowhere to go, for he doesn’t know exactly where he is. Also, there are very few to help this lost guy. Trapped in this situation, Sebastian probably feels dreadful, worrying about his future. This worrying must get stronger when he met a stranger (that is Sir Andrew) who wants to have a duel with him. It is right on time that Olivia shows up to him and asks to marry him. He thinks that this lady is insane, of course. However, after seeing her acting smart (skillful management on her maidens and so on) and that she is rich, maybe Sebastian doesn’t want to lose this chance. The chance to rely on the rich lady and start a settled life.
    Of course I admit that he never reveals he is not Cesario. It will make some of you take the morality to his behavior. But who wants to get back to the unknown future when you CAN avoid it? So I’d like to say “Impulsive” doesn’t go with Sebastian’s marriage. Instead, “Opportunistic” must be precise.

  10. Choi Yubin

    Q : Is it right for Sebastian to marry Olivia so impulsively, when she thinks that she is marrying Cesario?

    A : I don’t think Sebastian’s behavior is right. When Sebastian and Olivia meet each other for the first time, Olivia mistook Sebastian for Cesario because they looked alike, and Sebastian did not boldly deny that he was not a man who Olivia thought, though he knew that Olivia mistook him for another person, and he eventually married Olivia.
    Of course Sebastian might be surprised because Olivia looked crazy, but how can he pretend that who she’s talking about is himself? Sebastian didn’t think about the confusion Olivia would get when she realizes all the things later. Sebastian’s behavior were completely self-interested, without considering Olivia’s position.
    Olivia seemed to have a crush on Viola’s personality. Viola spoke about her own romantic feelings about love, and because she is a woman like Olivia, she knew what a woman wanted, and this was probably what Olivia liked. Viola and Sebastian may look alike, but their personalities are different. Can Olivia and Sebastian’s marriage last long? He is Sebastian, not Cesario. Olivia doesn’t seem to take it seriously that the person she married is not Cesario, but it seems to me that the marriage between the two is a fraudulent.

  11. Kang, Byung Hyun

    1. Is it right for Sebastian to marry Olivia so impulsively, when she thinks that she is marrying Cesario?

    No, it is not right. Olivia is not in love with the appearance of the twins itself but the personality that only Viola has. If Sebastian knew that Oliva mistaken him as Viola, he should have told his identity and declare himself that he has the same appearance with Viola. Although this play come to a happy ending. We can presume there might be conflicts after it. Viola was able to break down the wall that Oliva had before with her own language since she is also a woman. But even if Sebastian has the same appearance his background of growth is quite wilder than Viola. He fought Sir Andrew without hesitation. That is why I am concerned about their marriage. If lucky, there will be no discord between Sebastian and Oliva. But there is no guarantee that both of them can overcome the difficulties with love. They are not in love yet. That is why I’m worried and it is a huge mistake of Sebastian not addressing what kind of situation they are in to Olivia.

  12. Kim Jung Yeon

    2. Orsino is maybe more in love with “love” than with Olivia, and yet Viola falls in love with him. Why does she? What are his good qualities?

    In my point of view, Orsino was in love with himself, not with Olivia. Suffering from Olivia’s rejection, he was proud of himself loving someone so much. It was not Olivia that was important, it was the fact that he was in love, and that he is suffering from it, thus considering himself as a romantic man. However, it does not mean that his love was insignificant.
    Viola seemed to fall in love with Orsino because she was the closest person to see him suffer from love. She would have felt that this guy is a faithful person. She felt pity for him, thinking that she wanted to make him happy. In addition, she was the first person to share his feelings. If she was a man, delivering his words would not have made her melancholy, but as she is a woman, she was linked to Olivia through feelings of empathy.

Comments are closed.