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Shakespeare's Festive ComedyA Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom$
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Cesar Lombardi Barber

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149523

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149523.001.0001

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Testing Courtesy and Humanity in Twelfth Night

Testing Courtesy and Humanity in Twelfth Night

(p.272) Ten Testing Courtesy and Humanity in Twelfth Night
Shakespeare's Festive Comedy

C. L. Barber

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Very little happens in the Twelfth Night, much of the time people are merely talking, especially in the first half, before the farcical complications are sprung. Shakespeare is so skillful by now in rendering attitudes by the gestures of easy conversation that when it suits him he can almost do without events. In the first two acts of Twelfth Night he holds our interest with a bare minimum of tension while unfolding a pattern of contrasting attitudes and tones in his several persons. Yet Shakespeare's whole handling of romantic story, farce, and practical joke makes a composition which moves in the manner of his earlier festive comedies, through release to clarification.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, festive play, comedy, Twelfth Night, farce, romance

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