Twelfth Night Essay

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The themes of celebration and festivity were inherent in Shakespeare's sources; the incorporation of the Twelfth Night holiday was probably suggested by the Italian play Gi'Ingannati, which contained a reference to La Notte di Beffania, the Epiphany. However, recent Criticism has reached past the surface gaiety suggested in the title, and delved into themes behind the temporary release of a celebration. The topics of madness and self-deception were first introduced in the late nineteenth century by the French critic E. Montegut, who saw Twelfth Night as a carnival farce (a farce is a humorous drama which relies more heavily on improbable situations and coarse wit than on character and plot development). During that same time, Frederick Furnivall developed a companion theory to Montegut's carnival madness: he noted the "shadow of death and distress across the sunshine" of the play, triggering a continuing stream of criticism in that vein...

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This section contains 2,098 words
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Buy the Twelfth Night Study Guide
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Shakespeare for Students
Twelfth Night from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.