Twelfth Night Essay, Research Paper
There are definitely class boundaries broken in the Twelfth Night as well. The person who most often brings out the crossing of the class boundaries is Viola (or Cesario as the case may be). Both Olivia and Orsino fall for this bright and beautiful young woman (or man). Both of these people are part of the of the upper class, while Viola a member of the lower class who has been shipwrecked in a city that is foreign to her. A noble duke, in nature as in name (1.1) is Orsino. He is the Duke and ruler of a whole country, Illyria, and Olivia is a rich young countess who has servants and lives in a large house with big gates. A virgin, shipwrecked in a strange land, possessing only wit and intelligence and the Captain s friendship, she must act immediately if she is to preserve herself. (Mack, 17) Viola needs to cross a class boundary to survive in this strange land, so she befriends Duke Orsino and soon even fall for him. She is surely crossing a social class barrier when she becomes a good friend and soon a lover of Orsino. She especially crosses the class border when she goes and marries Orsino. Consequently, Orsino crosses the same line when he marries Viola. When Olivia begins to fall in love with Cesario, a messenger, she is crossing an even bigger class boundary. At least Orsino percieved Viola (Cesario) to be part of the noble class. Olivia figured Viola (Cesario) to be nothing more than a messenger, and she still fell in love with him (her). By breaking through these class barriers, the audience discovers that one cannot find love based limit themselves to loving only a certain class of people. The love between two people should never be discontinued due differences in social rankings.
This principal is shown once again with the love Toby acquires for the servant of Olivia, Maria. Toby is indeed a part of the ruling class, while Maria is merely a servant girl to a patron of the ruling class, Countess Olivia. There are numerous instances within the play in which social class boundaries are crossed to prove a point and to add to the comedy of the comedy.
The crossing of these class boundaries adds to the comedy of this play mainly by catching the audience off guard and by allowing the audience to recognize the huge differences between the two people of opposite social classes. The humor of this is most noticeable when Toby and Maria get married. Toby is a lazy high class man who does nothing but drink, while Maria is this sweet innocent woman who is a good worker and does nothing but work. Yet, the two get married, and the audience finds the marriage to be something to laugh about. The same concept goes for Orsino and Viola, and Olivia and Sebastian. While the notion is not as obvious for those two couples, it still applies. There is much to be taught and much to be laughed about in this play through the crossing of these class boundaries, especially back in the day when this play was originally performed. It was not right for a person of high society to marry someone from the lower class, making the play all the more humorous.