Fooling And Disguise In Shakes Essay, Research Paper
Fooling and Disguise in Shakespeare s The Twelfth Night or What You Will
The Twelfth Night, or What You Will was written by William Shakespeare during the sixteenth century. This play is full of romance, comedy, and especially fooling and disguise. The act of fooling is seen through many characters of the play such as, Viola, Olivia, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Maria, and of course Feste, the most important and intelligent character of the play. Shakespeare s, The Twelfth Night, or What You Will, portrays a great significance of fooling and disguise through the main characters.
Viola is a great example of disguise in the play. Her boy disguise is an emotional catalyst for everyone else in the play. Acting as Cesario, Viola fools everyone. She is a fool caught between Orsino and Olivia. While she is falling in love with Orsino, she is wooing Olivia as Cesario. She is full of intelligence, wit, and charm, which makes her a great fool. This is because the meaning of a fool in this play is an intelligent person who brings awareness to themselves and others. At the end of this play, Viola does bring out awareness in herself and others, such as Orsino.
Olivia, the countess, is a great fool of the play as well. She fools everyone in the story when at the beginning, she mourns for her dead brother, but by the end she is more concerned with her love for Cesario, a male disguise for Viola. At the end, she realizes that she actually in love with a woman, disguised as a man, and then quickly reverses her love to someone she does not even know, Viola s twin brother.
Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria are a great team in the play. Sir Toby is Olivia s uncle and his companion is Sir Andrew. Maria is Olivia s servant, a lady in waiting. These three are the fools and the pranksters of the play. Sir Toby keeps Sir Andrew around only for his money, and in return, uses the money to get drunk. Sir Andrew is a foolish person who does not realize that he is being cheated by Sir Toby. Sir Andrew also thinks that Olivia could actually fall in love with him, a skinny, bald, and ugly man. Maria is a kind person, but she also takes part in a foolish trick. She writes a letter, pretending it is in Olivia s hand writing, and plants it so that Malvolio finds. Malvolio, a stooge, now thinks that Olivia is in love with him. Malvolio, who is characterized as a puritan, is the only one who wills himself to be himself. He is just an easy prey for the three pranksters, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria.
Feste, the clown of the play, is the professional fool. He is an entertainer who brings awareness to everyone around him. His knowledge is seen through taking part in games and masquerades and by moking the other characters. Feste woos the audience directly by framing the action with songs. He also takes us into what is actually happening throughout the play. Fooling, madness, disguise, and deception are all seen throughout the play. Feste is a clown, he entertains, but his job is also to bring understanding to the characters he helps. He may be a fool, but he never mistakes he personality with his job of fooling. It seems as if almost every character in The Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a fool and as Feste says, Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun / it shines everywhere (III. 1. 37-38). All of the characters of the play are only concerned with gaining something, such as love or money. Feste s struggle is with retaining his mask, his foolery. He is able to unveil the disguises of the others and succeeds in retaining his own disguise.
The Twelfth Night, or What You Will, portrays a great significance of fooling and disguise through the main characters. As said earlier, the word fool in this play means an intelligent person who brings awareness to themselves and others. Almost every character of this play takes part in some kind of fooling or disguise. The Twelfth Night, or What You Will is one of Shakespeare s best works. Through fooling and disguise, almost every character works toward a goal of discovery, fulfillment, and happiness.