Twelfth Night Critics

C.L. barber- the clown “The clown or vice… was a recognised anarchist who made aberration obvious by carrying release to absurd extremes”
Emma Smith- Feste “His role is to point out the truths other characters don’t want to hear”
Kiernan Ryan- Feste “Feste embodies the transcendent perspective from which Twelfth Night and other Shakespearean comedy is written”
Michael Dobson- Malvolio “The play is offering a glimpse not just of comic sexual self-delusion but of a potentially subversive upwards mobility”
Charles Lamb- Malvolio “Malvolio is not essentially ridiculous… he becomes comic by accident”
Carol Thomas Needy- Malvolio “Malvolio serves as a scapegoat who is punished for flaws others share”
Marion Gibson- Malvolio “All three Malvolio baiters seek to allay their anxieties about the pervasiveness of social mobility for they themselves exemplify such mobility”
Ivo Kamps- Malvolio Orsino’s final couplet “leaves us securely in the world of make believe”
Michael Dobson- comedy The whole of Twelfth Night debates the very nature and morality of comedy”
Miranda Fay Thomas- gender “Twelfth Night depicts one’s gender as essentially a performed role”
Jan Kott- homosexual desire “The desire of Orsino for his page, of Olivia for a woman, and of Antonio for his young master, is not ‘confined’ in marriage resolutions”
John Mullan- gender The all male cast “becomes a kind of artistic freedom, enabling the characters to switch their sexual identity”
German Greer- gender “The inconstancy of men and the solidity and truth of women”
Dympna Callaghan- gender “A prime example of the exclusion of the female body in the male impersonation of their personages”
Valerie Traub- Viola “It is as the object of another women’s desire that Cesario finds her own erotic voice”
Amy Smith- Olivia “When she stage manages her own marriage choices… Olivia remodels the economic exchange of maidenhood”
Hudson Shakespeare company- Orsino “Though he is a humorous figure, a parody of melancholy lovers… he also displays aspects of a psychological disorder”
Miranda Fay Thomas- disguise “Twelfth Night reminds us that identity itself is relative”
Herschel Baker- Orsino “Duke Orsino is a narcissistic fool”
Michael Dobson- disguise “Twelfth Night is very much a play about the potential hazards of dressing up”
Michael Dobson- conflict/ social class “With its dramatisation of the antagonism between hedonistic, alcoholic and gluttonous sir Toby Belch and the puritanical steward who longs to discipline him, it is also very much a play about the social implications of festivity”
Dale Priest- madness “In madness, there is true sanity, just as there is wisdom in the words of a fool’
Emma Smith “Viola is the only character who gets what she wants”
Kiernan Ryan- loss “The spectre of death haunts the romantic protagonists lives from the start”
Robert Kimbrough- disguise “Because of disguise, the usual social barriers of custom are removed, allowing Orsino and Olivia to get to know the essential Viola-Sebastian
Robert Kimbrough- disguise “Viola’s disguise… merely covers those parts of her that too often prevent society from accepting women as human beings”
C. L. Barber- sir Toby “He lives at his ease, enjoying heritage… celebrates what he has without having to deserve it”
Ian judge- madness “Twelfth Night also shows the comedy of love which occurs when people turn themselves inside out and almost reach the edge of madness”
Charles spencer- comedy “The marriages are founded on surer ground than if they had been initiated through more artificial means”
Jan Kott- madness “Illyria is a country of exotic madness”
Emma Smith- class ” Shakespeare is permissive of horizontal not vertical relationships
Kasey Charles- gender and sexuality Viola “collapses the polarities in which heterosexuality is based”
Samuel Johnson- Olivia “The marriage of Olivia.. exhibits no just picture of life”