Twelfth Night (1988 Film)

A Comedy Without a Resolution: Character Fates in 'Twelfth Night' and Its 1988 Version 11th Grade

In the resolution of most of Shakespeare’s comedies, the main characters, almost without exception, find love and happiness. However, this is certainly not the case in Twelfth Night. Whilst the marriages of Olivia and Sebastian, and Orsino and Viola do comply with the general idea that a comedy should end with resolution, they also bring uncertainty and unhappiness for the other characters. In Olivia’s marriage, Feste’s earlier statement that ‘fools are as like/husbands as pilchards are to herrings’ is proven true, as Feste is forgotten when he is effectively replaced by Sebastian, and he loses the woman he loves. This is particularly prominent in Branagh’s 1988 version of the play, in which, at the end, Feste is left singing a mournful song before he turns and shuts himself out of Olivia’s grounds. In this final act of desolation, Branagh makes it clear just how much Feste has lost through Olivia’s marriage, and, as this ends the play, it is certainly not a satisfactory resolution.

Furthermore, the image of the solitary figure in the frozen garden returns the audience to the melancholy mood of the opening scene, and so Orsino’s loneliness has simply been replaced with Feste’s. Similarly, Sir Andrew not only loses the...

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