What are the roles of the comic characters, such as Feste, in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night?

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Like a lot of comic characters in Shakespeare's plays, Feste provides a kind of running commentary on the action. As a professional fool, a court jester, he is part of the weird and wonderful world of court life yet at the same time apart from it. This enables him to highlight the foibles of the main characters, such as his mistress, Olivia, as well as giving him the opportunity to take full advantage of the fool's pardon to say whatever he likes.

It is this raw, earthy honesty that makes Feste such a valuable character. In a world of bluff and double-bluff, of masks and disguises, of all manner of deception and strange goings-on, it's refreshing to have a down-to-earth, if slightly cynical, take on things. And this is precisely what Feste, the wisest fool in the kingdom, ably provides.

Feste in particular is known to have a very significant role in Twelfth Night. Not only does his intellectual wit and word play amuse, he reveals great many truths about the other characters and about reality in...

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