November 20, 2013
The play “Twelfth Night, or What you Will” is comprised of many different messages and relationships. Shakespeare portrays many unique types of relationships and the significance of each. The two that I think are most important are the relationship between the clown and Olivia and the relationship between Viola and the Orsino. Shakespeare portrays the clown as honest and brutal to Olivia through the use of humor, and that is something no one else can do in such a time. He also bases the only open and honest relationship that Orsino is involved in on a lie and false identity. The “Twelfth Night” is effective in portraying the importance of the truth and strong relationships.
Shakespeare depicts Olivia as a weak, dramatically depressed human being. This portrayal is important for her relationships because she does not want to listen or talk to anyone. Feste is the only one who can be blunt with her and tell her what she needs to hear, because he is normally the one who will always make her laugh, therefor never betraying her. Feste tells her, “The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother’s soul being in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen” (Act1, Scene V). He is allowed to say this to her, when know one else can because of the type of relationship he has created with her.
This type of relationship is essential because you cannot go through life thinking everything you do is okay. It is important to have some sort of structure of right and wrong. In RYP it is essential to let the students know when they are doing something wrong or when they have a bad attitude or are bullying. You have to be able to reach the students on a personal level in order to get the message across. This is one of the hardest things to do at RYP. It is difficult because the students may not understand you. Also, they may believe you are just doing it because you have to. You have to show them you believe in them as well as want to provide them with structure. This aspect of connecting to them on an honest personal level is also portrayed in Shakespeare’s play through Orsino and Violas relationship.
Orsino is a melodramatic coward who thinks he is in love, when in actuality all it is, is superficial feelings. Once again, the characteristics of Orsino are crucial in understanding how valued and true the relationship between him and Viola is. Viola, as Cesario, allowed Orsino to open up to her. She detached her personal wants to help Orsino. Because Viola is so strong and unselfish Orsino was able to open up to her. He says to her, “Cesario, Thou know’st no less but all; I have unclasp’d to thee the book even of my secret soul” (Act I, Scene IV). This shows the Orsino trusts Viola enough to let him in on more than anyone knows about him and Viola still does what he asks even though she loves him. This relationship, even though based on lies, shows how sometimes things aren’t always about you. You have to put others needs in front of yours. Orsino should have told Olivia he was in love with her, and Viola should never have faked her identity, becase Orsino fell in love with Cesario, not Viola. This creates an unsteady basis for a relationship.
In RYP, creating a solid relationship is very important for the students. They need to be able to trust you, they cannot overlook the fact of lying, nor should they. The students should not have to question what you tell them. If you omit the truth just once, that causes a loss of all faith in the relationship. It also makes them think that it is okay to lie because you, as their role model, are.
In RYP this semester I found one of the most surprising things was with one student who had been in the US for 3 years and had lived in NYC for most of the time. He, having gone to school the whole time he was here, still does not know how to read. He is in high school and can speak English almost better than anyone in RYP, but the fact that no one in the past has taken the time to teach him to read is disturbing. He is a bit of a troublemaker, but he is very nice. All someone had to do was get to know him and evoke a sense of trust in the relationship. He is easily frustrated, so he just needed to know that the volunteer with help him no matter what and even if he only learns a few words that it is still progress. I think that it was a great thing for him to move to Baltimore simply because of the time and effort the volunteers and teachers give to each student.