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Twelfth Night

When Shakespeare wrote the story, Twelfth Night, what did his title mean? This play is often referred to as a “festival” comedy, which means a comedy that is specially designed to take place on a festival or holiday. In this case of the “twelfth night,” the feast of epiphany, or the last day of the Christmastide events, was his way of letting you figure out when this took place. The phrase “what you will,” is another way of saying, “as you wish,” or to give the play’s title any name you wish, as long as you understand it. It connects to the themes of this class because we, as people, can interpret anything we want into something that “fits” us better. If we weren’t able to do that, then the world would be far too confusing to understand. As far as putting it into the Heritage lesson, I think the school board wanted us to think about the choices we have and don’t always “just take” what you have. You can always change things to make it easier for you, that is the beauty of everything, shaping life and all of its possessions around your personality!

Shakespeare uses many powerful lines in his story, one of which reached out to me the most. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” (II.v.144-145, p.48) To me it means much more than it says. Many people are born with certain abilities. Whether its athletics, knowledge, music, or any talent for that matter, they all reach their goals in different ways. Yes, some are born with a natural ability to do certain things, but it’s their will power that makes them great at what they do. You have to push yourself to the edge to get the best out of yourself. To achieve greatness, it takes much more than just practice, you have to make it your life, give it everything you have, and then, you can achieve anything at all. It is said again at the end of the play to remind you of what it means. Don’t give up on anything; you can do whatever you want if you try your best. I think Shakespeare just wanted to remind us again of what we can achieve. Another line out of the Twelfth Night is, “If music be the food of love, play on; give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.” (I.i.1-3, p.1) This opening quote, said by Orsino, shows us his need from romance. He is in love with love, and is going crazy at the mere though of it. Interpreted, it says that love is wonderful, and without it, Orsino could not carry on his life. It stuck out the most to me because of the message that it carries. You can obviously tell that Orsino is in desperate need of affection, and the way he expresses it has so much emotion behind it.

When Duke Orsino and Viola have a conversation about love between men and women, they argue about which gender is better when dealing with the nature of love. I believe that men and women are both creatures that are born to love and have compassion. But, I think that women tend to be more involved in the actual love portion of any relationship. For instance, they may call more, send flowers more, or just do some little things that men just take for granted. (Or they say they do!) As a man, I believe we participate in the relationship just as much as women do, but they always seen to think otherwise. It depends on the people who are involved in a relationship; they can be both madly in love with each other or not care about one another one bit, it just depends on how they feel about their love. If they both agree on the same things, the nature of love between them will be great, and they will live happily ever after!

In the story Twelfth Night, the most important character is Viola. She has been through the most and has suffered the greatest loss of anyone in the story. Her brother was lost at sea when the ship they were on wrecked in a storm. She actually had the ambition of finding her long lost brother, so changed her sexual identity in mourning and waiting of his disappearance. I think that is very unique of a person and shows how much she cared for her brother. But as time went on, she began to find a new love. Orsino grew on her and she began to fall in love with him. Because she was disguised as a man, she couldn’t really express her emotions towards him directly. I think that Viola is important because she is the one that stirs up everything. She is the most important piece of the love triangle. She got herself into a problem where she fell in love with Orsino, but because of her disguise, another woman fell in love with “her”. She could have stopped as soon as she wanted to, and told everyone that she really was a woman and that she had feelings for Orsino. “As I a man, my state is desperate for my master’s love; as I am woman (now alas the day!), what thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe?” (2.2.36-39) This quote by Viola shows that she actually likes disguising herself and making other people not understand her completely. It is funny how she would do anything to get what she wants. That is the most important line that she says. It backs up her personality and lets everyone know how she really feels about Orsino and Olivia.

The Twelfth Night is a comedy that has many twists and turns to keep you tuned in. Shakespeare has great dialogue and can be interpreted depending on how you view the story. That is why this play is so great; you can relate many of the situations to yourself, even though it was written so long ago. Despite all the obstacles we face, people in love eventually unite through persistence.

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