Published on June 17, 2007
Some Structure in Twelfth Night: Some Structure in Twelfth Night A look at key structural devices with heavy emphasis on that shining star of thinking and writing, CONTRAST! repetition: repetition Virtually always worth discussing a whole body paragraph can be written on repetition, if warranted Look for a repetition of ideas motifs lines character types Parallel events: Parallel events Look for same actions and different characters ex. Love at first sight (also a convention) Vs. recurring events: Vs. recurring events Here, look for the same actions AND the same character Ex: Viola’s treks to and from Olivia’s on Orsino’s behalf parody: parody Parody may be defined as 'incongruous imitation.' A parody 'imitates the serious manner and characteristic feature [of the original], but deflates the original by applying the imitation to a lowly or comically inappropriate subject.' M.H. Abrams Look at the representations of love: Look at the representations of love Think about Viola and Orsino Orsino’s love for Olivia Olivia’s love for Cesario Malvolio’s love for Olivia (N.B. In some instances the word love could be put into quotation marks.) Contrast: your new best friend: Contrast: your new best friend Contrasts are always useful! I recommend that when you are doing a close-reading, make a list(in the margin) of all of the contrasts you see. Incorporate the best ones into your analysis of your examples. Contrasts: plays and novels: Contrasts: plays and novels Contrasts are equally vital here for writing expository essays -- timed or untimed -- about these genres. As you think about contrasts, try to group them for a more useful and useable presentation. In Twelfth Night, for instance,... Think about contrasts in terms of: Think about contrasts in terms of characters’ names characters’ classes characters’ natures characters’ uses of language plot setting theme Characters’ Names: Characters’ Names Feste -- his name means fete -- feaster in spirit. See 2.3.27 - 71. Malvolio -- his name means bad appetite. See 2.3.87 - 93. Characters’ Classes: Characters’ Classes The high-born characters: Viola, Sebastian, Orsino, Olivia The lowborn (or base-acting) characters: Malvolio, Maria, Fabian, Sir Toby Characters’ Natures: Characters’ Natures Malvolio, the precise, self-loving, longing-for-a social-climb steward (and puritan) vs. Sir Toby Belch 'the caterwauling kinsman' 2.3.114 - 123. This represents the Puritan/Cavalier issues, so divisive during Shakespeare’s time; at issue during the civil war in England And...: And... Viola’s understandable cowardice about dueling (She’s had no training!She’s not a he!) 3.4.281 - 283 and 3.4.314 - 316. VS. Sir Andrew’s cowardice. (He’s a knight!) 3.4.243 - 249. also: also Look at Viola’s plan to deceive Orsino so she can gain employment 1.2.50 -64. VS. Her 'patience on a monument' speech 2.4.122 - 130. And speaking of Viola,: And speaking of Viola, She looks like a man (albeit a feminine man) and acts like a man, and accidentally wins the love of Olivia. 1.5.297 - 301 VS. Sebastian, who looks, acts, and is a man and gets the hand of Olivia (fortunately). 4.3 And while we’re thinking of Viola...: And while we’re thinking of Viola... She knows what love is. She has real love for Orsino. See her discourse about her 'sister.' 2.4.116 - 134 VS. Orsino, who likes the notion of love. See 1.1.1 - 15. And speaking of love...: And speaking of love... Malvolio loves himself more than anyone else. His employer, Olivia, comments, 'O, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite.' 1.5.89 - 90. Then see him with the 'love letter.' in 2.5.143 - 183. VS. Viola’s humble comment to Orsino: 'And I, most jocund, apt willingly,/To do you rest a thousand deaths would die.' 5.1.135 - 136. Characters’ Language: Characters’ Language As we discussed before, think of blank verse vs. prose -- 'Go hang yourselves all! You are idle, shallow things. I am not of your element.' 3.4.132 - 134. VS. 'Receiveth as the sea, naught enters there,/ Of what validity, and pitch soe’er' 1.1.11 - 12. Think, too, about the end -- Act 5: Think, too, about the end -- Act 5 Malvolio: 'I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you!' 5.1.401. To which gentle Olivia responds, (in Malvolio’s absence), 'He hath been most notoriously abused.' 5.1.402. Examine these, please.: Examine these, please. 'Make me a willow cabin at your gate And call upon my soul within the house, Write loyal cantons of contemnèd love And sing them loud even in the dead of night, Hallow your name to the reverberate hills And make the babbling gossip of the air Cry out ‘Olivia!’… 1.5.271 - 277. And... Slide21: '[I go] After him I love More than I love these eyes, more than my life, More by all mores than e’er I shall love wife. If I do feign, you witnesses above, Punish my life for tainting of my love.' 5.1.138 -142. plot: plot Main plot/ comic sub-plot above stairs characters/ below stairs characters finding one’s self and one’s true love/ examining humans in their folly Look at Act 3: scene 1 = main plot; 2 = subplot; 3 = main plot (Sebastian and Antonio arrive); 4 = subplot (Mal. = cross-gartered) setting: setting The shipwreck and danger prior to the opening of the play -- the force and danger of the sea are mentioned several times, specifically by the rescued twins the idyllic world of Illyria, where most people are gentle, kind, and helpful themes: themes Viola’s search for her true identity vs. Malvolio’s self-indulgence, self-satisfaction, delusions, and meanness. Remember that final line, 'I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you!' 5.1.401. Slide25: Also note what Antonio says to Sebastian, 'The gentleness of all the gods go with thee!…/But come what may, I do adore thee so/ That danger shall seem sport, and I will go.' 2.2.43 - 47. Slide26: Whereas when Malvolio speaks to the revelers, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, the fool, and Maria, he declares, 'My masters, are you mad? Or what are you? Have you no wit, manners, honesty but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night?…Is there no respect of place, persons, nor time in you?' 2.3.87 - 92. consider: consider All of the times where true love is contrasted with idealized love, misguided love, love that cannot be requited, parodies of true love. Shakespeare is advocating the power of love when it is genuine.