In what ways are Viola and Feste similar in "Twelfth Night"?

In what ways are Viola and Feste similar in "Twelfth Night"?

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Gracie O'Hara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Viola and Feste in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" are both examples of what literary critics might consider uncanny or transgressive characters. In other words, Viola, when dressed as a man, and a jester by virtue of his position both stand outside the norms of their surrounding culture. This role as outsiders allows them both a version of "parrhesia" or "freedom of speech" due to being in subject positions giving them the ability to speak truth to power. This means that both characters can offer unique insights about their societies and often are voices of wisdom and insight. They are the voices of both an intentional and unintentional humor that not only entertains us but also serves to critique the ideological, moral, and gender assumptions of the society in which they are embedded. 

The other function both serve is as messengers or intermediaries between other characters, conveying information and attitudes but also undermining the...

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