Essay on Ignorance, Ignorance And Ignorance

1163 Words Oct 12th, 2016 5 Pages
Shakespeare’s comparison of ignorance to darkness and hell in Twelfth Night illustrates the ironies inflicted on the main characters and shows that as long as they do not know the true state of their situations, they will be in the agony of their own personal hells. Feste and Malvolio deliver a shared simile in 4.2, which reveals the foundational theme of the play: the characters in Olivia’s house (sphere of influence) are ignorant of their true situations.
MALVOLIO. I say to you this house is dark.
FESTE. There is no darkness but ignorance…
MALVOLIO. I say this house is as dark as ignorance, though ignorance were as dark as hell… (4.2.40-43,45-46)
The intrigues of Twelfth Night are built on deception and ignorance. If it wasn’t for the inclination of some characters to deceive and others’ willingness to be deceived, there could be no plots in which to play them against themselves and each other. As such, the anguish of hell they feel in their misguided thoughts is as much their own doing as it is of their counterparts. Since the word hell can mean “to cause (a person…) great annoyance or anguish” (“hell, V.2.”), we can see the suffering and misfortunes brought upon the characters as a form of hell, which Shakespeare likened to both darkness and ignorance. The person who ultimately bears the largest brunt of ignorance is Malvolio, while Feste is an omniscient observer who sees things as they truly are and proffers hints towards the true nature of people and…

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