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Lecture 14

ENGL 200 Lecture 14 - Twelfth Night Part II.docx

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English (Arts)
ENGL 200
Wes Folkerth

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night: Part II Shakespeare writes this in mid-career, and is the final expression of the festive form which he introduces He is taking different comic strands: o Roman o Angle o Then he brings in traditional English folk culture The very name of the play is a reference to this (Midsummer Nights Dream), twelfth night takes place on the 6 of January, coincides with the epiphany, which celebrates the birth of Jesus The first reference to this play takes place in the Temple (a law school in London) not long after January (around February) Someone wrote some notes about the play, and they said that it had roman comedy elements, and they mentioned Malvolio falling in love with his mistress Some elements: o Inversion: reversal of roles in society, low culture is brought to power, and high power is brought to low culture temporarily Principle of inversion runs along all the way o Play on words not so much physical humor (which is typically represented in the 2 practical jokes that the play contains: Maria writes a letter, where Malvolio thinks that Lady Olivia is writing to him. This comedy is for everybody, and everyone is part of it (except for Malvolio, whose name means ill-wisher). The other is the mock-duel that Sir Toby sets up o Disguise It is about temporarily getting outside of yourself and not being responsible for what you do A kind of liberation is in involved in this. The idea is not to live there like Sir Toby, but to sometimes be sober so that you take life seriously sometimes, so that you can have a good perspective o Madness Many references to madness Sebastian comes to Illyria, and he wonders if everyone is mad Feste and Toby make Malvolio insane Malvolio comes down to ask why all of his masters are making so much noise in the middle of the night There are also references to the moon (which is where the word lunacy comes from) since it was thought that the moon had something to do with madness o Gender All womens roles are played by young men Viola is being played by a young man (inversion) However, she dresses up as a young man This gives them a greater perspective on humanity and love There are interviews between Orsino and Viola where they talk about love Orsino styles himself as the great lover (although it is not too true) Malvolio: o This kind of character is common in all of these comedies, and he is often called the Refuser of the feast who does not take part in the larger social unit. Malvolio is not content with where he is; he wants to be somewhere higher. His love is more about winning and a path to power, rather than actual love for Olivia, and he will begin to pay for this later on. o However, he is treated so cruelly by these folks that we kind of feel sorry for him as he falls into a state of despair o Here, Shakespeare is pushing it to the limit, as although we laughed at him, we need to sometimes take it seriously and realize how cruelly he was treated (the hangover) Page 1080 Lines 1-15 Act I Scene i DUKE ORSINO If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die. That strain again, it had a dying fall: O, it came oer my ear like the sweet sound, That breathes upon a bank of violets, Stealing and giving odor! Enough, no more, 'Tis not so sweet now as it was before. [Music ceases] O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou, That, notwithstanding thy capacity Receiveth as the sea, naught enters there, Of what validity and pitch e'er, But falls into abatement and low price, Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy That it alone is high fantastical. The music starts in order to let everybody know that the play is about to start Then, Orsino begins to speak, and then when he says Enough, no more, the music stops (at his command) Here we get a portrait of a lover who is more in love with love than the ostensible object, Olivia, who is not in a position to entertain his amorous advances upon her He is actually buzzed by the feeling of love, the music feeds his melancholy, and he has a sense of what will get him off and he is able to craft that He is somebody who is not ready to be a lover because he is not ready to love, it is all about the quality of his majestic emotions Shakespeare wants us to realize that, and he thus places this early on in the play Fairly recently, Olivia has just lost her father and her brother, and she has just become the mistress of the household and she wants to mourn for 7 years, which is quite long (longer than moderate amount of grief) These issues are echoed in Hamlet too: the tonality of loss and what suffices them, and the fact that Olivia has to hide from her environment It is a very short first scene, and we cut to Viola, who has been thrown onto the shores of Illyria, and her brother has been thrown off, but the captain thinks that he is still alive on the island and that he has seen him Page 1081 Lines 10-19 Act 1 Scene ii CAPTAIN I saw your brother, Most provident in peril, bind himself, Courage and hope both teaching him the practise, To a strong mast that lived upon the sea; Where, like Arion on the dolphin's back, I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves So long as I could see. VIOLA For saying so, there's gold: Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope, Whe
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