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

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write9,607 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

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.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Tamara K. H. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write3,619 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

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...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 585 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial