12Th Night Analytical Essay

12Th Night Analytical EssayTwelfth Night Act II Scene IV Analysis
Twelfth Night can be a very confusing story because of the changes in identity throughout the story and the way it ends with one big happy wedding that no one ever saw coming, (unless you have picked up on the Shakespearian pattern that comedies end with weddings and tragedies end with the death of the main character). Act II Scene IV seems to prepare the reader for what is to come at the end of the play. This scene shows the more personal sides of Cesario and Orsino, and it also shows how roles are switched between Feste and Orsino, and Cesario and Orsino.
Act II Scene IV is the section that reveals the most about the characters Orsino and Cesario and foreshadows the end of the play. The lines 71-76 state “Now, the melancholy god protect thee, and the tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is a very opal. I would have men of such constancy put to sea, that their business might be everything and their intent everywhere, for that’s it that always makes a good voyage of nothing. Farewell.” These lines are important because they foreshadow what is to come at the end of the play. The text literally says that he (Feste) wishes for the gods to protect Orsino from sadness, and that he is tailored a suit from fabric that changes colors to represent man/men because they are changing creatures, and those that change have good lives. The play results in Orsino finding out that Cesario is not really a man, but a woman by the name of Viola. According to Feste, the reason Orsino is able to accept this truth and not be completely upset by it is because he is a man. Men are changing creatures, and the conclusion can be made that it means that they adapt more aptly than women, according to the statement Feste made. Feste says that men who are able to change easily can make a “good voyage of nothing”. Orsino began to develop feelings for Cesario after being with him and sharing his thoughts and knowledge with him over the time they spent with one another. The fact that Orsino thought Cesario was really a man is the reason he continued to send Cesario to be his mouthpiece to woo Olivia. Since his true feelings were really with Cesario, even though he fooled himself enough to not realize it until the end of the play, when Cesario revealed that he was really a woman, that allowed Orsino to change as quickly as he did and marry her, Viola, instead. According to the play, men are changing beings, some are just more susceptible to change than others, and the ability to change has certain degrees that can affect certain outcomes.
Also, these lines show the fool, Feste, giving the master, although not his master, Orsino, advice. This relates back to the holiday and the namesake of the play “Twelfth Night”, where roles are switched. In a way, Fest reveals that he knows about Cesario’s secret. In line 69 he says that we all will have to pay for what we like. Feste sees the connection that Cesario and Orsino have, and this line combined with the previous one mentioned in this paper both work together to try to send hints to Orsino. There is one movie that interprets the play as Feste knowing all along that Cesario was really a woman, and from analyzing the text, it isn’t too farfetched to believe. Feste exhibits some kind of wisdom for him to be deemed the fool. If anyone is the fool, it would be Orsino.
Not only does Feste prove to be wiser than Orsino, Cesario proves that though he is young, he is wise as well. Cesario and Orsino have a conversation on understanding love in lines 86-120, and in this conversation, Orsino tries to convince Cesario that women aren’t capable of loving like men can. Cesario subtly speaks in defense of women. This should have been a red flag for Orsino. That would have been accepted if the defense was being given by an older man, but for Cesario, a seemingly barely pubescent young man, to speak with such knowledge and wisdom about women seems a bit weird. During that time period, men and women were not equal and women were thought to be inferior to men. It is as if Viola used Cesario to seize that opportunity to speak up for women while she was in her man form.
Also another reason Orsino is deemed the fool is because Cesario pretty much states “hey, I am a girl” while talking to Orsino. Cesario’s exact words were “I am all the daughters of my father’s house”, which is questionable in itself. Throughout their entire dialogue, neither of them spoke in parables or metaphorically; everything they said was pretty literal, so when Cesario made this statement, it should have been taken as being literal as well and Orsino should have questioned Cesario to get a better understanding. Orsino is also made out to be the fool by the fact that he did not catch the hint, and Cesario is the wise one because he devised a way to reveal his secret but yet his cover was not blown. This works out for the play’s ending as well because when Cesario was revealed to be a woman at the end of the play, Orsino probably thought back to this specific conversation and put all the pieces together.

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