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Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

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Essay title: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

In Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, the function of Feste the clown appears insignificant, but in reality his role has immense significance in the overall development of the play and other characters. The clown is used as an independent observer that exploits the foolish actions and faults of others. Throughout the epic play, we observe how Feste's true humor along with the foolishness of other individuals becomes the focal contribution of his role to the insight of the play.

It is during his conversation with Maria that Shakespeare introduces him, unveiling the fools purpose and role to the play:

Wit, an’t be thy will, put me in good fool-

ing! Those wits that think they have thee do very oft prove

fools, and I that am sure lack thee may pass for a wise

man. For what says Quinapalus? – “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”(1.5.29-33)

These lines indicate that Feste's presence is not just comic relief through silly acts, but they highlight that the role of the fool requires much intelligence. Feste is also able to recognize and criticize the characters subject to foolery. This matter is invasive throughout the comedy as it contributes to the image of love as false. Feste's contribution to the revelation of the underlying theme of love is essential to the understanding of the play's messages. The clown's most profound comments often take the form of a song. In the first song, Feste clearly foreshadows the events that will occur later in the play. When he sings, “Journeys ending in lovers meeting,” (2.3.41) he hints at the resolution in which several characters are married (showing his intelligence to predict).

Feste's intuitions and insights are comparable only to the perceptions of Viola, the central character who has disguised herself as a man for a prosperous life after a horrific ship wreck. Both characters are the only ones who are involved in both

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