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MonkeyNotes-Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
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THEMES

Major Theme

The major theme of the play is how the complications of love often arise from various disguises, which may hide one’s true intentions. Viola, disguised as Cesario, is in love with Duke Orsino, who is in love with Countess Olivia. Olivia, however, loves Viola/Cesario. The problems begin to be solved with the appearance of Viola's twin brother, Sebastian, whom Olivia marries. Viola then marries Duke Orsino after revealing her true identity. The entire play centers on happily resolving these love affairs. Another theme explored is that of madness and its close acquaintance with love. Many of these characters allow their emotions to lead them into various odd situations and disguises which invariably bring disastrous results such as Malvolio’s hankering for Olivia which leads to his imprisonment in Olivia’s cellar by Sir Toby and company.


Minor Theme

The minor theme is that arrogance deserves ridicule and humiliation. Throughout the play, Malvolio is tormented for his conceited ways by the minor characters, creating humor and teaching a lesson in the process.

MOOD

The mood is mostly light and romantic as developed through the interaction of the main characters yet there is a subtle darker side to the romance between Olivia and Orsino. Both suffer from self- indulgence in affairs of love and death, which reveal an extreme side of romance. The humor is developed through the scheming of the minor characters against Malvolio and to some extent Sir Andrew Aguecheck as well as the wit of Feste.

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MonkeyNotes-Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
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