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Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare is a comedy where commoners and royalty speak together frequently in both prose and blank verse The usage is not always clear to the modern reader but is easily understood with sufficient knowledge of the literary styles of the period in which Shakespeare lived This shift from one form of speech to the other gives many things to the audience allowing them to better perceive and understand the situation and characters that Shakespeare is portraying The effect of the change is easily felt by the Elizabethan viewers and can be explained to the modern reader such that the impact it has on the atmosphere of the play is made adequately apparentGenerally in Elizabethan plays blank verse is used by nobility such as Dukes gentlemen Kings Queens and the like In contrast prose is used mainly by fools clowns and the lower class These two distinctive ways of portraying dialogue are particular and help to segregate the classes Blank verse is the manner of writing in which each line of the play consists of ten syllables none of which usually rhyme This is meant to be spoken in a halting and therefore dignified manner with the speaker stopping at the end of each line one had to pay attention to what the character was saying and was held in slight suspense waiting for the next line The broken flow of the sentences portrayed the nobility in a higher light showing they were not confined to the normal constraints of speech and had a specific and unique way of talking that set them apart form the rest of the classes In Twelfth Night all characters with wealth and prestige use this way of speaking Orsino the Duke Sebastian Violas brother Viola Sebastians sister Valentine and Curio two gentlemen Olivia a countess the Sea Captain and the Priest the Lords and Officers All these characters are people with power and money something the
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