Twelfth Night Essay

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Source: "Language, Theme, and Character in Twelfth

Night," in Shakespeare Survey: An Annual Survey of Shakespearean Study and Production, Vol. 35, 1982, pp. 79-86.

[Yearling contends that in Twelfth Night, language communicates truth, despite the play's deliberate deceptions and wordplay. Choice of language helps to convey a sense of character: Viola's ability to adapt to changing circumstances, for example, is reflected in her speech, which vanes from courtly compliments to "rude Jargon" depending on to whom she is speaking. Sir Toby mixes colloquial expressions with elaborate language, reflecting his "disorder" as a knight with questionable habits. Malvolio, even when he is alone, chooses pretentious words, reflecting his egotism. Yearling goes on to show how language supports thematic contrast of the play: throughout Twelfth Night, characters abruptly switch from elaborate, indirect speech to short, direct, action focused sentences, reflecting the contrast between the make. believe world of holiday festivities and the...

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This section contains 4,307 words
(approx. 11 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Twelfth Night Study Guide
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Twelfth Night from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.