Twelfth Night Draft

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Comedy, while delighting in the events of a briefly topsy turvy world, is ultimately conservative. Discuss how this view is presented through the play of Twelfth Night. When discussing the comedic features of the play Twelfth Night, and looking at the idea that the topsy turvy world ultimately being conservative the origins and context of the Twelfth night need to be considered. In medieval Tudor times, the twelfth night represented the end of a winter festival that started on all hallows eve. On this day, the king and other high authority figures would become peasants, and the ruler would be the one who found a seed within a cake rendering this new ruler as the lord of misrule. This represented the disrupt of natural order, a clear element within Shakespeare play Twelfth Night. At midnight, the rule and order reverted back to normal, conservative state which again could arguably be seen to occur at the end of Twelfth Night, when natural order is restored in almost every characters life. The play is filled right to the end with events that could be considered as “Topsy Turvy” and against the natural conservative order. One example of a key event that could be considered in this way is at the start of the play, when the ship that Viola is traveling on crashes, and physically capsizes and throws everyone overboard resulting in her assumption of her brother’s death. This scene could be considered as a physical metaphor to represent the start of a series of events that would be considered as going against the social norm of the play. The boat physically turning upside down, could represent how the lives of the characters in the play are about to be turned upside down, much like the boat did. Therefor the boat can be argued to be a physical metaphor, acting as a catalyst for the topsy turvy events to begin within the play Twelfth Night
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