Analytical Essay Sample on the Play “Twelfth Night”

Posted on May 7, 2009

The name of the play “Twelfth Night” refers to the last twelve days of Christmas that we hear in the song “The Last Day”. The song is heard so often over the Christmas period. “Twelfth Night was a time of revelry, high jinks, fantasy, madness and disruption of convention”, as you would know if you have heard the song. Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night is relevant to the song as in his play there is a lot of foolishness and hidden identities that leads to a comedy play but with storylines of a lot of seriousness to them.

The play starts with Viola’s and Sebastian’s boat being shipwrecked, leaving them to find their own way to shore. Viola arrives in Illyria later finding out that her twin brother (Sebastian) may be dead, as no one has seen him. This is a serious storyline as death is involved and this leaves Viola devastated and upset. Viola is determined to find out what happened to her brother and in a conversation she finds out that Olivia, the countess of Illyria has also lost a brother and hearing this she decides to disguise herself as a man to serve as a page in Orsino’s court. This is one of the many hidden identities that occur in the play. The hidden identity leads to mischief later on in the play.

We then meat Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Sir Toby Belch and Maria who are in Olivia’s house drinking and being jolly. Malvolio then bursts through the door and takes a serious tone with them, he tells them off for their drunkenness and loudness. He turns and leaves the house angrily. Soon after his departure all three of them decide to play a trick on him. They start to plan their cunning plan. They decide that they are going to write a letter in Olivia’s handwriting telling Malvolio that she loves him and that she would love to see him in his yellow stockings and cross garters.

When Malvolio receives the letter, he reads it allowed and is all chuffed with himself not knowing that Olivia didn’t send the letter. He then turns up to see Olivia with his yellow stockings and cross garters and he is a different man. Olivia thinks he has gone mad and she insists he is locked away in a dark room. This is an example of one of the comic storylines. This is a comedy storyline because Malvolio is tricked into believing that Olivia loves him and that she adores him when he wears his yellow stockings but in fact she hates yellow stockings and doesn’t have any interest in him what so ever. When he turns up all dressed up he makes a fool of himself and then to top it all off he is locked away in prison. This relates to the song because there is revelry and high jinks everywhere you look.

Just from reading a few of the storylines already the play links together with the song. In both the play and the song there is mischief and laughter, the title of the play “Twelfth Night” refers to the play in the way that the characters behave and the laughter that they bring to the audience but not letting them forget the seriousness of the story. The play refers upon the last twelve days of Christmas and the celebrations that we have.

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