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Word Count: 484
Looming over everything of course heart of the city is the great Castle Shakespeare You see it wherever you look It rears its head into the clouds reaching into the celestial sky dominating everything around These were some of the opening words of Fay Welden in her novel Letters to Alice There are many reasons for Shakespeares fame including his profoundness lifelike characters historical value and uniquely beautiful language On the surface the comedies may appear to be simply a source of entertainment but a closer examination shows that they all have underlying meanings Through humour comedy and disguise human weaknesses are satirically highlighted For example in Twelfth Night we are warned of the folly of ambition When Malvolio Olivias steward uncovers a love letter apparently written by her he believes it is meant for him and indulges in a dangerous fantasy where he imagines he will discard his lowly status and rise to that of a lord This leads to nothing but contempt and ridicule as he is locked into a cell and labelled as mad - the punishment for his greed Shakespeares themes are relevant to todays society For example he uses the twins Viola and Sebastian to demonstrate the uncertainty of gender and the preoccupation with external appearances A simple change of clothes renders the twins identical leading to many dilemmas including a serious marital mistake Among his other messages are gullibility the inefficiency of communication and the suffering of love Shakespeares characters are realistic as none of them are wholly good or evil Viola is a highly likeable character having no major faults but she is not a saintly character who has done nothing wrong either For example she has lied to people in the process of her disguise While Malvolio is seen as a hypocritical Puritan who falls victim to the sin of pride he is also a character to be pitied as his spirit is broken
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