Love and Setting up The Future
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and the works of David Yezzi share a lot in common. Central to acts I and II of Shakespeare’s play is the idea of love. Also, it is very clear that Shakespeare is setting up later acts of his play by creating possible conflict with the disguises of Viola and Sebastian. Similarly, the topic of love was discussed in David Yezzi’s “Modern Masters” lecture. Yezzi’s poetry contains a wide variety of content. He also talked about apotropaic magic which relates to Shakespeare setting up later acts of his play. Each writer touches upon similar themes in their works.
In the early parts of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night it is very evident that love is a main theme. Within the first thirty pages of the play, we are introduced to a very complicated and Shakespearean web of love. The Duke of Orsino, one of the main characters, is in love with a woman named Olivia. It just so happens that Olivia is enamored with Cesario (Viola in disguise) while Cesario is in love with the Duke. This love triangle is even further complicated with the characters of Sir Andrew and Malvolio who are both interested in Olivia. David Yezzi talked about love in his “Modern Masters” speech when he talked about his play The Ghost Seer. In this play, a son discusses his perpetually troubled relationship with his father. He feels as though his father does not love him or really support his career decisions. At the end of the play, the father dies and the son realizes that he didn’t actually love him.
Also evident from the beginning of Shakespeare’s play is the fact that Shakespeare is setting up further conflict in the play. He did this by putting characters in disguises that everyone in the audience knows won’t last for the entirety of the play and will create drama. For example, Viola will never be able to stay disguised because she will eventually need to reveal herself to the Duke because she is in love with him. Also, the fact that Sebastian is in disguise will create tension because he looks just like his sister Viola. This is similar to the idea of apotropaic magic that David Yezzi talked about in his lecture. Apotropaic magic is when someone does something to prevent something else from happening in the future. In one of Yezzi’s poems, a man buys his wife flowers every night after work. We find out that he does this in order to ensure that she doesn’t get mad at him in the future. Both Shakespeare and the man in Yezzi’s poem are trying to manipulate things in order to set up the future.
Both authors offer their own views on love. Shakespeare’s plays offer a more romantic and helpless form of love while Yezzi shows us a darker side of love where a son cannot love his father anymore. Also, each author shows how current actions can be used to manipulate the future. Despite writing almost a half millennium apart, David Yezzi and William Shakespeare surprisingly write about some of the same themes.
Heading into EN 101, my expectations were pretty low. In high school, English was my weakest class and I absolutely dreaded it. However the class was, surprisingly, a breath of fresh air. What surprised me most was how much I took to and could identify with the poetry and prose that we read. I really enjoyed the wide array of literature that we read and I feel as though it is interesting and even relevant to my own life. This class broadened my horizons, and taught me to really dig down deep and dissect the words in a piece of literature to find meaning.