Michael Nodurft English 208 Mrs. Walter Twelfth Night, 3. 1. 1-26 Jan. 30 2007 True Lies Reading this conversation between Viola and Feste the clown there is definite multiple meanings to each of the words that they both say. You can tell that Viola’s wit is matched to Feste’s which makes this conversation so cleverly written. This passage offers pun’s to the audience who understand that Cesario is truly Viola. And have Feste hinting that he knows Viola’s hidden identity. This passage offers hints to the truth of the Viola and the fact that Feste is truly not the fool that everyone believes he is.
In this passage I will prove that this conversation is crucial to the plot, and defines beoth of these characters roles. When Feste enters the room he is playing his pipe and tabor, and is being his normal fool self. The first couple lines are normal speech when Viola asks, “Dost thou live by thy tabor? ”3. 1. 1-2 I like how Viola used the word tabor because it is the perfect description of Feste personality, the way he is always playing games with people for money. When Feste’s witty remarks are matched by Viola, Feste begins his more intellectual wittiness. “A sentence is but a cheverel glove to a good wit,”3. . 10-11 In this sentence you tell that there is a deeper meaning when Feste is talking about a glove. The way that Feste describes the glove to Viola is interesting because when a person uses a glove it is normally hiding the hand. Feste has stumble onto a crucial part of the play making the plot much sweeter for the audience because they know the truth about Viola and he doesn’t; Cesario is the glove to Viola. This is perfect not only is the fool being a mocked in the play; his fooling is now involving the audience making subtle hints of something he does not know.
The next line Feste says is “How quickly the wrong side may be turned outward. ”3. 1. 11-12 I like this comparison between the glove turning outward and Viola trying to keep her cover, because Viola doesn’t know what Feste knows. Another note that I stumbled on when reading this scene was the fact that Feste repeated the word “,Sir,” when he was addressing Viola. When you look into Feste’s lines it is almost like he is mocking the word sir by putting a coma before and after.
I can see the imagery of Feste’s face when he pauses and announces “,sir,” I can see his eyes looking into Viola’s almost jesting that he knows that she is not truly a sir but a woman. It seems like Feste knows a lot but I don’t really think he entire understand it yet. So for the audience who knows Cesario is a woman, it is quite enjoyable seeing Feste sort of stuck in the dark and not truly understanding everything. This is how Feste obtains both the fool in the play and to the audience. Another idea that I have thought about was what is Feste hiding?
Feste is the loveable fool that plays tricks for money, but is that his true nature? I believe that the “glove” sentence applies to both characters Viola and Feste. Viola is trying to keep her cover, but one slip up and she could be uncovered causing terrible trouble. On the other hand Feste, if his cover of being a fool is blown then he has no way of living. If one was thinking hard about this speech Feste is talking about himself. Being witty and fun, but at the same time scared to let his more intelligent side out. He has to purposely put himself outside of the box so that no one can understand his true meaning of life.
The way that this passage is put together it is not rhythmic at all. The lines don’t flow together like other parts of the play. There is no iambic pentameter is these sentences they are either too long, or too short. I think that Shakespeare purposely made these lines uncut and off rhythm for a reason. This reason is that Feste is a fool and is always being witty never making a direct point. Viola is fooling right back and not being entirely serious as well. From a literary stand point having the fool talk in such a manner makes them both out of the box or “party”.
It makes sense that Feste talks in such a manner in the play, but I like how Viola’s lines are almost the reiterating the argument that Feste and Viola are very similar characters with their wit. I have showed the evidence threw out my paper proving the idea that Feste and Viola are very much alike. I have shown you the style on how they talk to each other using the wit to the best of their abilities. I have proved the non rhythmic lines that complement the fact that both characters are intelligent fools that think they know what they are talking about but are still in the dark.
The fact that Feste is messing with Viola the way he does, shows that he has some knowledge on her true identity. The way that Feste mocks Viola makes this passage so important to the plot of the play because of the funny pun’s it gives the audience; hinting at the fact that Cesario is the glove to Viola. All of this evidence digs deeper into this passage and pulls out the hidden pun’s and messages that you couldn’t see with one glance, and enriches the story with hidden thoughts. Shakespeare, William. “Twelfth Night. “The Norton Shakespeare based on the oxford edition. 1997.