Twelfth Night~ Comedy and Its Effectiveness

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TITLE “A critical response to Ralph Berry’s “Shakespeare and the Awareness of the Audience” based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The essay includes: * A: A summary of Ralph Berry’s argument. * B: An evaluation of the effectiveness of the argument. CRITICAL RESPONSE * A. Renowned Shakespearean critic Ralph Berry, in his critique of William Shakespeare’s most-widely recognized and appraised comedies, Twelfth Night Or What You Will, entitled “Shakespeare and the Awareness of the Audience”, seeks to highlight the audience’s response to the play in its entirety, arguing moderately well and exploring the character of Sir Toby, Maria and Malvolio, and the joke that has been taken too far. The structure of the review takes the form of an essay, comprising five {5} distinct parts, each of which demarcates the various rudiments of Berry’s proposition. Firstly, I intend to abridge, then examine and assess Berry’s proposition. The critic introduces his argument by drawing the parallel between the title of the play itself and what that title implies; that it is a time free of inhibitions, where normal rules were suspended. Therefore, likening the festival of Twelfth Night to the transformation of the characters and how they are perceived by the audience from beginning to end, which, in his opinion, is employed to fool the audience and make them feel ashamed of themselves, because of the initial appearance of the plot and their ‘reversal’ in their judgment of some of the characters, which may ultimately seem quite “disturbing”. Thus, he states that the audience’s experience of Twelfth Night is mixed. Additionally, he alludes to the fact that this comedy, in particular, unlike most others fails to meet the norms and conventions of the comedy, perhaps with some elements missing. Secondly, he states that the play
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