Madness in Twelfth Night

Source 1 Priest, Dale G. “‘Or Else This Is a Dream’: Ambivalence and Madness in Twelfth Night.” CLA Journal 34.3 (Mar. 1991): 371-383. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 144. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Literature Resource Center. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.
Source 2 Ryan, Kiernan. “‘Nothing that is so, is so’: Twelfth Night.” Shakespeare’s Comedies. Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 235-273. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 144. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Literature Resource Center. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.
1 “‘My masters, are you mad?’ (II.iii.86), he asks. The answer to Malvolio’s question is yes. The revelers are mad from both Malvolio’s point of view and that of the audience”
1 “For Malvolio, the disorderly carousers are mad because of their ‘uncivil rule,’ their flouting of authority and social decorum.”
1 “To an audience, they are mad in the sense of saturnalian release from the usual restrictions of ordered society.”
1 “At this point in the play an audience will always endorse this madness–not only because of universal antipathy for the party-pooper but also because the revelers provide the spectators a dramatic image of themselves in their desire to leave the routine, sane world and escape to the other world of the theater.”
1 “Sir Toby has an answer for Malvolio which, we are tempted to say, surely indicates where Shakespeare’s own sympathies lay: ‘Dost thou think because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?’ (II.iii.114-16). The lesson for us at this point is that Malvolio takes life, and himself, too seriously.”
1 “The name ‘Illyria’ itself suggests ominous connotations such as delirium, illusion, even illness.”
1 “the steward is absurdly ambitious, perversely self-centered, and he reciprocates with no one. We can therefore enjoy an outrageous kind of comic justice in what happens to him in Act III.”
1 “The climax of this sport is the dark house scene where Feste, sometimes disguised as Sir Topas the curate, torments his victim with an elaborate and intimidating show of trying to exorcise the ‘madness.'”
1 “For an audience, however, the [dark room] scene offers a version of a recurring Shakespearean idea, one which has paradoxical implications: madness is a figure for a state as much benign and valuable as it is ugly and detrimental.”
1 “Malvolio remains in the dark because he does not recognize and is indeed incapable of the detached, relativistic vision possessed by the clown or fool, the liberating ‘madness’ that finds truth in paradox and identity in illusion.”
2 “when Olivia mistakes Sebastian for Cesario, his sister’s alter ego, and makes her passion for him plain, Sebastian muses, ‘Or I am mad, or else this is a dream’ and concludes, ‘If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep’ (IV.i.60, 62), before surrendering to the situation and marrying the apparently deranged woman he’s just met”
2 “Orsino’s astonished response to the sight of Sebastian and Viola together–‘One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons, / A natural perspective, that is and is not'” (V.i.213-14)
2 “Feste, in the guise of ‘Sir Topas the curate’ (IV.ii.2), undertakes by means of a mock exorcism to convince the steward that he’s possessed by Satan and thus ‘make him mad indeed'” (III.iv.131).
2 “Indeed, Shakespeare has Olivia exclaim at one point, ‘Why, this is very midsummer madness'” (III.iv.54).
2 “Twelfth Night’s title equates the comedy overtly with carnival as an institutionalized interval of transgressive revelry, and it announces, moreover, what will turn out to be the case: that with this play the carnival is truly over, because this is the last festive comedy Shakespeare will write.”
2 “Although the subplot of Twelfth Night furnishes the play’s most flagrant instances of the liberties, japes and clowning sanctioned by holiday convention, the principal characters of the main plot prove no more immune to ‘midsummer madness'(III.iv.54) than Malvolio.”
2 “Both Orsino and Olivia are as vulnerable to the virus of carnival as Malvolio, because they are just as pathologically self-absorbed as he is, and thus ripe for emancipation from the egotism that negates the ethos of the festive community.”
2 “The word ‘mad’ and its offshoots crop up more frequently in Twelfth Night than in any other play by Shakespeare”
2 “The drunken Sir Toby ‘speaks nothing but madman’, laments Olivia, and Feste exits at her request to attend to him, quipping ‘He is but mad yet, madonna, and the fool shall look to the madman'” (I.v.102-3, 132-3).
2 “‘Madness’ is the comedy’s code word for the condition that unites the denizens of Illyria by driving them to distraction, the point of utter confusion at which clarity and the promise of resolution appear.”
Source 3 Kerwin, William. “Beyond Body and Soul: Twelfth Night and Early Modern Medicine.” Beyond the Body: The Boundaries of Medicine and English Renaissance Drama. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005. 194-231. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 133. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Literature Resource Center. Web. 5 Nov. 2013.
3 “Twelfth Night contains satire of both humoral and spiritual controversies with a medical component; moreover, it balances them against each another, using formal and linguistic parallels to argue that two medically influenced models of identity–one based on the body, one on the soul–produce similar masks for the evasion of social engagement.”
3 “spiritual explanations for madness are under attack by both medical and religious authorities.”
3 “The period saw a medicalization of madness–insanity began to take off the guise of possession and put on the mask of mental illness”
3 “The role-playing through which Feste transforms Malvolio is an emblem of the medicalization of madness, a process in which church politics put on the dress of medicine to help build a new consensus on the meaning of madness.”
3 “Madness was moving out of the province of religion and into the realm of medicine, at the same time as it took its meaning from religious politics.”
4 Brown, Eric C. “‘What’s to come is still unsure’: Madness and Deferral in Nunn’s Twelfth Night.” Colby Quarterly 37.1 (Mar. 2001): 15-29. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Vol. 116. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Literature Resource Center. Web. 5 Nov. 2013.
4 “Malvolio locked in a house ‘as dark as ignorance’ (IV.ii.45), unwittingly participating in his own ignorant madness while vainly proclaiming his clear vision.”
4 “The perception of light and dark consequently heightens the temporal difference between known and unknown, surety and uncertainty, present and impenetrable future.”
4 “A further consequence of the madness among the characters is the slippage of identity”
4 “Those who speak ‘nothing but madman’ must be displaced, deferred. Those who are mad, who are driven beyond themselves by that centrifugal force of the future, have no place in the realm of present mirth.”
4 “Lost in the madness of concupiscible appetite, he [Aguecheek] remains largely static and alienated throughout.”
4 “Malvolio is the key to the tension between present and future, between sanity and madness.”
4 “somewhat less ‘sane’ than merely ‘sanitary’–he is obsessive, compulsive, ultra-orderly”
4 “‘My masters, are you mad? … Is there no respect of place, persons, nor time in you?’ (II.iii.86-92). For Malvolio, the proper ordering of time is concomitant with sanity; thus the time of night alone makes their behavior inappropriate, even ‘mad.'”
4 “its characters fall into the madness of love, ambition, desire.”
Source 5 Twelfth Night: Madness and Folly. Midsummer Magazine, 1991 Utah Shakespeare Festival Web. Nov. 6, 2013
5 “As Feste suggests, ‘Foolery . . . does walk about the orb like the sun; it shines everywhere’ “(The Complete Signet Classic Shakespeare, ed. Sylvan Barnet, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1972, 3.1.39-40).
5 “In Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly, the personified Folly characterizes the natural fool as ‘that class of men whom we generally call morons, fools, halfwits, and zanies'”
5 “‘many do call’ (2.5.82) Sir Andrew fool, and they are right; he is all folly and no wit, unlike Feste, Toby, and Maria, who are deliberate in their foolery, beneath which exists a layer of wisdom.”
5 “Both [Olivia and Orsino] are melancholic, and from this disorder arises folly”
5 “Malvolio’s melancholic folly originates in his self-love.”
5 “He [Malvolio] is the prototypical Puritan who threatens to wipe out folly altogether, in himself and in everyone else.”
5 “He [Malvolio] is, as a result, the opposite of Feste, the traditional medieval fool who strives to bring out the foolishness in all his acquaintances.”
5 “The play takes us from the routine of ordinary life to the realm of folly.”
5 “As Zijderveld speculates, ‘If one follows the fool into the reality of his looking-glass, if one adapts to his ‘language,’ his ‘logic,’ his kind of ‘reason,’ the routine and ‘normal’ reality of everyday life, with its structures and hierarchies, begins to look genuinely foolish'” (27).
5 “Shakespeare shows us the reflection of ourselves and our society in the distorted mirror of Twelfth Night, and as a result, we reach a heightened awareness of our own shortcomings and absurdities.”
5 “Paradoxically, we learn by laughing, passing beyond seriousness to wisdom.”
5 “Feste is the most obvious of these fools, belonging to a class of jesters who…’were . . . in full command of their wits. . . . They played at being foolish, often with much wit and ingenuity'” (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982, 92).
5 “He is the ‘allowed fool’ who can criticize the two absolute rulers of the play Olivia and Orsino with impunity, and he does.”
5 “Sir Toby Belch…is a ‘Lord of Misrule’ who orchestrates the folly of his cohorts”
5 “Shakespeare seems preoccupied with madness and folly in Twelfth Night.”
Source 6 Bai, Ronnie. “Twelfth Night Shakespeare.” Humanities360. N.p., 1 June 2010. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
6 “As events spiral into confusion, characters revert to the only feasible explanation for such irrationality: madness.”
6 “Apart from the two contrasting metaphorical madness, the revelries of Sir Toby and the Puritanism of Malvolio, the main cause of madness in this play arises from love.”
6 “It is love that both induces and eradicates the madness within the characters.”
6 “The polarity between the carnival, self-gratifying madness of Sir Toby and the complete Puritanism, self-righteous madness of Malvolio is the only type of madness described in a comical manner.”
6 “The idea of Sir Toby being mad is due to his infatuations with revelry”
6 “His [Toby’s] constant sate of lethargy and drunkenness is described by Feste the jester as ‘a drowned man, a fool, and a madman’.”
6 “The metaphorical madness as embodied by Malvolio comes close to psychological breakdown as he is pushed almost beyond sanity by the merciless Feste when he is falsely imprisoned.”
6 “The multiple repeats of “I am not mad” serves again to reinforce the importance that madness plays in this play.”
6 “due to the fact that Malvolio’s love is not requited, his madness is not eradicated in the end, but transforms into vindictiveness which he vows to avenge.”
6 “While Malvolio’s madness leads to thorough humiliation due to his unrequited love, other characters’ madness full resolves after the complicated process of clarification of the twins”
6 “Orsino’s madness intensifies to jealousy as he is momentarily portrayed as a madman, threatening to kill Cesario to spite Olivia’s heart”
6 “Orsino’s madness reaches its peak when he mistakes the engagement of Olivia to Cesario.”
6 “The idea of love in inducing and also in eradicating madness is also shown between the last couple – Sebastian and Olivia.”
6 “it is Olivia’s madness from love that is shown most clearly by the playwright”
6 “Even Feste’s habitual title for Olivia as “Madonna” seems to echo the madness in her.”
6 “The play ends with the couples happily going to the altar, all removed from their madness, leaving only Malvolio languishing in his forlorn solitude.”

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