Though the background and atmosphere of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" are romantic, they are built on solid rock of realism. Explain.

Expert Answers
suman1983 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Oxford Companion to English Literature notes Sir P. Harvey’s influential definition of ‘realism’: “a loosely used term meaning truth to the observed facts of life”. It is normally accepted that realism is a term which is opposed to romance. In Twelfth Night, though characters are involved in romantic activities, they are also concerned about the “observed facts of life”: Viola has to disguise as Casario for her security in an unknown surrounding, the love-sick Orsino realistically transfers his love from Olivia to Viola and, finally, Feste offers his comments about the other characters of the play from a realistic perspective. Thus, in Twelfth Night there is an excellent blend of romance and realism – the characters are romantic, but they live in the real locale of Illyria.