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How does the introduction in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night compare to the introduction in...

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georgewins | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 1, 2011 at 1:41 AM via web

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How does the introduction in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night compare to the introduction in the film She's the Man with respect to devices, like theme and point of view?

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tamarakh | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:31 AM (Answer #1)

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One significant difference between the opening of Twelfth Night and the opening of She's the Man is point of view. Point of view refers to the lens through which the reader or audience views the story. While in drama and film, point of view is generally objective, scenes and camera shots can focus the point of view on one character, allowing us to see the story through that one character's eyes. One significant difference between point of view is that the play opens with Duke Orsino, putting special emphasis on his character and his love problem. Then next we meet Viola who becomes the central character through the fact that Viola appears in far more scenes than the other characters. Hence, in Twelfth Night, the point of view focuses on Viola but also places great importance on Orsino's love problem, representing Viola as the solution to Orsino's love problem. In contrast, in She's the Man, Viola is featured in the very first scene as well as soccer, making Viola and her soccer aspirations the central focus of the story. We are not even introduced to "Duke" as Duke Orsino and his love problem until a few scenes later in the film. Hence, while the point of view in both the play and the film focus on Viola to tell the story, the play also places great emphasis on Orsino's point of view and his love problem, while the film only focuses on Viola and her problem.

Another difference between the play and the film concerns themes. One of the central themes in the play is love, particularly the foolishness of love. Orsino illustrates the foolishness of love in the very first scene when we see him continue to allow himself to pine for Olivia, even though she has already made her rejection of his love perfectly clear. But regardless of her rejection of him, he still allows himself to indulge in suffering over her instead of allowing himself to get over the rejection and move on. We can especially see his foolish suffering in his lines:

O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought she purg'd the air of pestilence!
That instant was I turn'd into a hart [deer];
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E'er since pursue me. (I.i.20-24)

In these lines, he likens his desires for Olivia to hunting dogs pursuing a deer and also likens his heart to a deer, showing us just how tormented he is allowing his heart to feel due to Olivia's rejection. In contrast, in She's the Man, while love is a part of the story line, the central focus is on Viola's soccer ambitions. More specifically, she feels that she and her fellow girl teammates have been wrongly disqualified from playing soccer on the boys' team due to sexism. Hence, sexual discrimination becomes one theme while Viola's motive for pretending to be her brother becomes another central theme. Viola pulls an act of deception out of ambition to prove to herself, and the boy teammates who rejected her, that she can play soccer as well as they can. Since the whole plot surrounds Viola's ambition, ambition is really the central theme in the film as opposed to the foolishness of love being a central theme in the play.

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