Hit enter after type your search item

Discuss the dramatic significance of Feste in Twelfth Night


“Feste is an observer. He translucents individuals. Though he’s a type of entertainer, who will only carry out for cash, what he picks to sing to individuals is intentionally pertinent.

People discover the fact really difficult to handle: ‘… Peace, you rogue … here comes my lady’. This story shows individuals preventing the reality at every level; Feste’s insight” Ben Kingsley on Feste: Twelfth Night by Trevor Nunn

Fool. Clown. Words persistently linked to someone who isn’t taken seriously. This holds true with Feste. For example, ‘fool’ in King Lear was constantly being threatened with hangings and poundings, but this was only as he was a ‘amusing fool’. Again, with Feste in Twelfth Night, who also is threatened with hangings, due to his absence. Feste does not fear this risk, and in fact makes a joke of it; mocking Maria and utilizing a sexual pun at the exact same time, e.g. ‘numerous a good hanging prevents a bad marital relationship’ This confidence originates from the reality that it wasn’t their task to merely supply amusement, but to also make vital remarks and offer recommendations, as Olivia asks him: ‘What’s an inebriated guy like, trick?’ and since he is an ‘allowed fool’ he had the ability to say what he believes, without fear of punishment: ‘there’s no slander in a permitted fool’.

Feste and Olivia have the most personal relationship, as Feste knew her father. Olivia uses Feste as a friend, advisor and joker. She states ‘Take the fool away … y’ are a dry fool’, signalling she has no usage for him as he cant entertain her, but accepts him when he is amusing, ‘… doth he not mend?’

She looks for ‘What’s a drunken man like fool?’ and when responded to, she instantly acts on it: ‘Go thou and seek …’

Feste is connected just to Olivia’s home. The audience are told ‘Lady Olivia’s dad took much delight in him’ and after a long journey, it is her family that he retreats to, and her reference to his ‘tricking aging’ provides the impression of him being around for a long time-a time for which they have been friends.

Read this– Puns in the Value

However he likewise has the capability to distance himself from everybody, such as ‘living by the tabor’: unsociable, and the way he speaks; ‘I go …’ ‘I will’, ‘I can yield’- he doesn’t require assistance. Furthermore, he is continuously mocking people with puns and soliloquy-playing the part of the fool-but his interaction is once again limited by the method he is always leaving scenes- 1: v, 3: i and 2: iv.

As well as being comic, Feste is probably the most observant character in the play. He talks about people in ways other characters over look, whether be their appearance or their ‘mind’. For instance, in Act ii: iv, he point blank tells Orsino what he thinks of him, stating his ‘mind is really opal’ and ‘the tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta’ (a silk which alters colour). The joke here is Feste informing Orsino that he is extremely unpredictable and has a very changeable state of mind, so adjustable that he ought to have matching clothing. These state of mind changes echoes lines, ‘Enough; no more …’ where Orsino sings to us of his love sickness.

Feste goes on to say that he is so changeable that he would sail all over the world to justify purposeless busyness and guts. Feste hardly knows Orsino, who in turn scarcely knows Feste, however for Feste to cast this view reveals his perceptiveness. This view is so precise, that it leads Orsino to make Cesario go to Olivia’s and inform her that his love is ‘more noble than the world’.

Furthermore, he suspiciously notices Viola, and is the just one to start presuming her, ‘send thee a beard’ he states, hinting that he knows of her ‘such camouflage’. Feste’s understanding was reinforced in Trevor Nunn’s production of Twelfth Night, where- at the end of the play- Feste offers Viola a locket, A necklace she deserted in Act 1: ii -on the seacoast, revealing he has constantly known of Viola’s circumstance and was constantly playing along, once again revealing his nature.

Feste’s Language:

The advanced way Feste speaks permits him to climb the social ladders of Illyria and have the ability to talk with Lord Orsino, Sir Toby and Fabian. Which ends up being substantial when he has the ability to get himself out of scenarios or even to make other individuals react, which may otherwise be difficult and utilize his language skills to make mockery. Such as the ‘the more fool, Madonna, to mourn for your bros soul …’ This scene is the very first with Feste, and he has actually proved to the audience that he is nowhere near being a ‘fool’. Up until now from it, in reality he has actually proven someone of a higher social status to be one! This echoes the quote ‘there is no slander in an allowed fool’: that- although Olivia remains in grieving for her brother and dad- fools would be permitted to make these bold jokes.

However, Feste has actually proved two things here, the very first is that he is not ‘dry’ and the second that he can provide the humour if is someone does ‘minister occasion to him’ or welcomes him to ‘make that good’.

Another crucial figure of Feste’s language is his uses of Latin. The couple of times he talks and refers in Latin remain in the presence Olivia or Orsino, again proving his flexibility of talking appropriately with individuals and it likewise demonstrating his education to the audience.

All his Latin phrases communicate messages. For example, the first to Olivia: ‘cucullus non facit monachum’, referring to an overriding style in the play; do not evaluate by external appearances, prepares her for his foolery.

Another Latin reference is to Orisino in Act 5. ‘Primo, secundo, terito is an excellent play …’ although simply pleading for a 3rd coin he does it in such a way, that he deserves it.

Feste’s tunes do hold a dramatic function, which change depending upon the scene: they hold meaning and are sung for a reason. Such as when Feste asks, ‘would you have a love tune or a tune of great life?’ The option reflects the audiences’ and the characters’ state of mind at this current minute in the play, or as he said in his last song ‘… And we’ll strive to please you every day.’

Feste’s tunes seem to have a substantial meaning, either used to create dramatic effects or represent/ echo his sensations about a situation in a scene. In Act 2, Feste sings ‘Come away, Come away, death …’, a melancholy song to Orsino about a fan who dies for love, which echoes Orsino’s mood and his situation. The listener can check out into this as Orsino being the lover and Olivia being the ‘housemaid’, making good sense as the lover is ‘killed’.

The words that are used mirror what Orsino has already stated, such as ‘My part … share it’ hold similar significance to that in ‘If music be the food of love …’

Orsino then instantly acts upon the tune and tells Viola/ Cesario to go to Olivia’s.

This is one example of the function of Feste; do we value what he says or laugh at what he says? Orsino valued what he said (we understand this as he sends out Viola to go to Olivia and tell her ‘that nature pranks her in attracts my soul not her cash’).

Nevertheless, after the song is completed, Feste casts a point blank insight of Orsino, which produces stress, specifically with the use of words like ‘remains’, ‘discomfort’ and ‘… bones shall be tossed’; words that are connected with death. Causing a melancholy atmosphere in the scene. It’s as if the song(s) introduced the sadness, and set the way for Orsino and Viola to discuss love, ‘Our shows … will’ and ‘pang of heart’.

Here’s a fine example of the dramatic significance of Feste- developing stress. With the next scene beginning in comedy, the drama in each scene seems heightened due to the immense contrast. Feste’s appearance in the play is held off till act 1: iv. His contribution to the play is revealed through: “Wit, an’t be thy will … a foolish wit”. Showing Feste’s presence is not merely comic relief through silly acts and show that the role of the fool requires much intelligence, or being a ‘wise man’, ‘a church male’ or someone has all their wits about them: ‘I use not motley in my brain’.

Feste’s most substantial tune comes at completion. He is left alone on stage to sing it- that appears uncommon as he’s always sung for individuals. The circumstance might echo his real feelings present in the tune: isolation, toleration, and rejection.

In Trevor Nunn’s variation, the tune was obviously melancholy which I felt this was a good insight as it draws a logical link to worthless misconception: ‘the rain it raineth every day’ and ‘wind’.

The sense of journey through the tune is enhanced with links of Viola and Sebastian’s journey- which ends in ‘lovers fulfilling’

The significance of this epilogue suggests that every person goes through life, with its vicissitudes, but he/she needs to bear in mind that ‘it raineth every day’ or there is always unpredictability.

Feste’s contribution to the themes of love is vital to the understanding of the play’s messages. The clown’s most profound comments often take the type of tune: ‘O girlfriend mine, where are you wandering? … Youth’s a things will not sustain.’

It remains in this tune where we could perhaps see Feste discovering Viola and dictating the entire play. ‘Trip no even more, pretty sweeting;’ where the ‘pretty sweeting’ may be Viola, and the ‘wise man’s son’ is Feste. If this is so, then it recommends that Viola-Orsino might end up as ‘lovers’.

This song is performed due to the requests of Sir Toby for a “love-song”, which plays on the occasions of Twelfth Night itself by echoing the cheerfulness of this play and how the unpredictability of ‘what’s to come’ shouldn’t be a negative prospect as ‘in delay there lies no plenty’. Feste predicts occasions that will take place later on in the play, when he speaks of journeys ending “in fans meeting,” he means the resolution in which characters are married.

At the end of the play, Shakespeare offers an epilogue, like other plays, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and All’s Well That Ends Well. Nevertheless, unlike these, Feste sings it. The tune is about Feste maturing, about being enduring in youth, rejected in adult hood, unsuccessful in marriage and intoxicated in aging … however nothing actually matters, the actors will constantly attempt and please- talking straight to the audience.

A small re-iteration of the tune: ‘What is love … youth’s a things will not endure’, informing the audience that we must enjoy the present due to the fact that the futures is as unforeseeable as the weather condition: it could be good e.g. Viola-Orsino and Sebastian-Olivia, or it might be terrible e.g. Malvolio.

Feste’s ability to get gender particular favour is distinct when encouraging Sir Toby to enjoy ridiculing Malvolio: ‘O no, no, no, no, you dare not’ (where an Elizabethan audience would of received ‘no, no, no, no’ and ‘yes, yes’) -no matter their social status. The repeating it: ‘four negatives makes your two affirmatives’. His sexual puns, such as ‘he that is well hung …’ would have decreased well with the guys too.

Feste can use word play, or puns, at particular points in the play to make the audience laugh and even contribute to the tension so far. A good example is in Feste’s very first scene: ‘he that is well awaited this world requires to fear no colours’. The first interpretation of this pun is the word ‘colours’ which can suggest opponent or war. So, logically, somebody who is already dead can’t fear.

Nevertheless, an Elizabethan audience might have heard it as ‘collars’ (hangmen’s nooses) so they do not fear them. The Elizabethans took pleasure in such punning jokes, and with Maria threatening Feste with death, and after that Feste making the whole audience laugh, the significant significance of Feste appears.

The function of Feste:

Feste’s instinct is similar only to the understanding of Viola. As both characters are associated with both homes (Orsino’s and Olivia’s) they equal each other in their knowledge and putting their wits against each other. Specifically Act 3: i, where, they both delight in using word play, ‘a sentence is but a cheveril glove to a good wit-‘ and later on Viola stating ‘I understand you sir’, showing him that she is simply as smart. Viola appears to be the only character that recognises Feste’s true intelligence: “This fellow is smart enough to play the fool … quite taint their wit”. Showing Viola’s awareness of Feste’s capability to read individuals in order to state the best thing at the correct time. Through this eager observation by Viola, she is acknowledging that might translucented her own camouflage. Although Feste never openly declares to understand of Viola’s misleading gown, it is suggested that he might be on to her: “Now Jove … send thee a beard”.

Feste’s capability to manage the audience emerges any place Shakespeare wished to portray ideas or morals, as he would make Feste inform the audience puns or songs. In Act 1: v, he says: “numerous an excellent hanging prevents a bad marital relationship” interacts as if you are well ‘hung’ then you need not love, and if we recall, to Act 1, the Latin quote refers straight to how Shakespeare felt- for that reason reinforcing Shakespeare’s worths. Therefore, it is possible that Feste was the voice of Shakespeare, and if Shakespeare wanted to make the audience pleased, for significant result or other, then he might use Feste to sing a song,

When Feste says lines 359-354 in Act 5: i, he prices quote the important things that Malvolio has said, and a sensation of ‘what goes around comes around’ is produced. The putting down of Malvolio would of been especially enjoyed by the audience, due to the fact that of his puritan no-fun nature, and for that reason have a very comical affect for them.

The plot in Twelfth Night is complicated. So fools may of been utilized in this play; to underline and enhance vital parts of the plot for the audience, and make their tunes and folly draw parallels to the play. In Twelfth Night, Feste sings to Malvolio ‘… She enjoys another’. Feste has actually seen through Malvolio and understands of his love for Olivia, and crudely informs him there is no possibility for him, moreover, he currently should know of Olivia’s love for Viola.

The fool in ‘King Lear’ notifies King Lear of the goings behind his back, where he ignores them, but despite the fact that he is notifying the king, the audience might of likewise received the message.


The ‘Twelfth Night’ was known as the “Banquet of Fools”, which is extremely comparable to “Feste the Fool”. Making it incredibly substantial, as the Banquet of Fools was a time where a “Lord of Ridicule” was appointed. An Elizabethan audience would of received this (deliberate) resemblance and therefore see Feste as this Lord of Ridicule.

If Feste were this lord, then he would become the master of the home, for this short holiday period, and organise dances, recklessness, pranks and deceptions, in order to amuse the remainder of the home. If which case, it would explain Feste’s tunes, drunkenness and naturally dressing up as Sir Topas- all functions similar to that of a fool.

Ironically, Feste is the only person not to be seen as the fool. Olivia is the fool, as she has fallen for a female, Orisino is seen the fool, due to the fact that Viola has fooled him into thinking she is a guy. Sir Andrew encounters as the fool due to the fact that of his absurd remarks, like taking the word ‘ass’ literally and thinking ‘Pigrogromitus’. Malvolio is the fool for dressing up in ‘yellow…cross-gartered’ stockings

In conclusion, what makes the audience happy is the exact same thing as that which makes them sad, and Feste accomplishes this perfectly. With his irony, puns, soliloquy, his tunes and criticisms- he directs the play in a moving omniscient way.

This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar