Act I, Scene 1
1. Does the Duke’s opening speech show praise for Olivia in particular or for the experience of love in general? Explain your answer by citing specific lines.
2. What kind of judgment would you make about the Duke’s character based on his speech and behavior in the first scene? Discuss why you get this impression. Discuss either several specific qualities or one generalized personality trait.
Act I, Scene 2
1. Viola comments on the deceptiveness of appearances. People aren’t always what they seem to be. Why do you think this theme would be significant in a play that deals with love? Cite evidence from the play to support your answer.
2. Why does the love object have to come down from the altar of the lover’s worship? Why, that is, can’t the Duke keep praising Olivia forever? How does Viola make it clear that there’s more to being in love than just poetry? Make sure you present your topic sentences clearly in the essay.
Act I, Scene 3
1. Sir Andrew may not be a good suitor for Olivia. Defend this thesis statement referring to specific examples from the dialogue.
2. Analyze the dance imagery found in lines 116–138. Why do you think Shakespeare included it in the dialogue? With what aspect of the play does it tie in? What does it emphasize?
Act I, Scene 4
1. Think of your efforts to win a sweetheart when you’ve fallen in love, or what you might do to win one. In what ways would those efforts be similar or different from Cesario’s endeavors to woo Olivia for the Duke?
2. Consider once again the definition of “Romantic comedy” stated earlier. Why do you think the society of a given era would desire a happy ending? Would you like to see Twelfth Night end in another way than it does?
Act I, Scene 5
1. How does the Clown prove that Olivia is a fool? Is he correct or incorrect in his assessment? Explain your answer with evidence found in the text.
2. How many love strands does the first act contain? Who is involved in them? Where do the relationships stand by the end of Act I in relation to how they will eventually develop?
Act II, Scene 1
1. Name one characteristic of poetic language and one of prose. After you state those, select one speech in the play that contains poetry and another from Act II, Scene i that contains prose, and explain the differences you notice between the two. Allow your imagination to explore the significance of the two different styles.
2. An important issue to be aware of when discussing characters’ motivations and fates is that of “free will” versus “determinism or fate.” Define these two concepts. And then, consider lines 3–8, spoken by Sebastian, in the light of that issue. Does Sebastian feel that he is in full control of things?
Act II, Scene 2
1. An important issue to be aware of when discussing characters’ motivations and fates is that of “free will” versus “determinism or fate.” Define these two concepts. And then, consider lines 3–8, spoken by Sebastian, in the light of that issue. Does Sebastian feel that he is in full control of things?
Act II, Scene 3
1. Describe the fun and festive atmosphere that makes up most of this scene. What role does Feste the Clown play in it? Cite specific lines to strengthen your description. Do you enjoy the playfulness? Why or why not?
(The entire section is 1439 words.)
Free Essays - Importance of Feste in Twelfth Night
- Length: 444 words (1.3 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
Importance of Feste in Twelfth Night
Feste, the amusing clown, plays a most important part in the play. He is able to take on several roles, and is indeed "for all waters"; from serious to comic, learned to nonsensical, the wit or the practical joker; just as the occasion seems to suggest. Because he is a part of both the main and sub plot, Feste is the character, who links both parts of the play together, making Twelfth Night a whole.
The clown contributes towards the humourous entertainment of this play through his numerous puns and jokes. He is a source of laughter, not because we are humoured by his "foolery"; for he proves to be no fool at all; but rather because he amuses us with his brilliant wit. Having mastered the art of jesting, Feste is sensitive of his profession, always aware of the circumstances he is in and the appropriateness of this folly.
Feste is able to prevent any delusions of grandeur by a reminder that foolishness is a condition common to all mankind whether one is king or servant. It is Malvolio's vanity that convinces Feste to take part in the joke played on the steward. As "Sir Topas", and Malvolio's `prosecutor` Feste attempted to help Malvolio realize that there was "no darkness but ignorance".
With Feste's help, we are able to attain a better understanding of the other characters in the play- revealing their true personalities, which are sometimes unseen, not only by us, the audience, but also by the characters themselves. He shows Olivia how unrealistic and excessive her mourning for her brother's death has been, he tells Orsino how foolish he is for languishing in a mood of love-sick melancholy for Olivia and points out how mercurial his personality is, and he makes a fool out of the pompous Malvolio. "Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun- it shines everywhere" says Feste.
Feste, however, never takes sides with any of the characters, and in this way, he becomes a kind of commentator for the play. He is able to examine the characters, revealing the bare truth about them and he unites the main and sub-plot in a similar way.
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Feste Twelfth Night Sub Plot Important Part Clown Olivia Jokes Delusions Foolishness
In his songs, Feste is ever aware of the physical existence of life, death, and love, and his music often brings a touch of reality and solemnity to the play.
Thus, we see that the function of the fool is both serious and comic. It is a paradox aptly summed up by Viola when she says of Feste: "This fellow is wise enough to play the fool".