Essay Questions Twelfth Night

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The conspiracy, having accomplished its purpose in secretly humiliating Malvolio, should have then been revealed to him and brought to an end.

However it seems that out of sheer cruelty and selfish fun, the pranksters continue the mockery, keeping Malvolio in the darkness of their cruel scheme.

This example of the darkness versus light motif reinforces the common conception that truth will always prevail.

In a world which ambiguity and obscurity play part in everyday life, utter chaos and misapprehension are sure to follow.

Yet when the wax clears from their eyes they are able to see the brilliant colors that they have been missing; as when the truth is revealed, lies washed away, and everyone is able to look on each other with a different light, seeing everyone as they really are.

Although no characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night are seriously insane, it would certainly be a stretch to say that they are perfectly sane, seeing as most of them have a skewed view of the world around them.

Shakespeare uses the fine line between sanity and insanity to model the motif of Darkness as opposed to Light.

An exemplary example of this witty metaphor is Malvolio’s sorry situation when he tries to flatter Olivia.

Yet, in Orsino’s case, the reader feels sympathy for the poor guy, as though he is being tricked into doubting and second-guessing his instincts by Viola.

While the ones around her suffer from being kept in the dark, Viola is certainly not immune to the effects of her deception. After being plagued by darkness and deception for most of the play, the revelation of Viola’s true identity douses the fire of misconstruction and single-handedly overthrows the terrible tyranny of misconception that so violently ruled these humble people for far too many acts.


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