"Twelfth Night": A Comedy of Incest Analytical Essay by Katherine L

"Twelfth Night": A Comedy of Incest
A look at the ambiguities of gender and the ambivalence of desire in William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night".
# 47313 | 3,048 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2004 | US
Published on Feb 03, 2004 in English (Analysis) , Shakespeare (Twelfth Night)

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This paper argues that contemporary critical perspectives on the sexual politics of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" can be expanded by exploring the theme of incest in the play. Although there is no literal incest in the play, erotically charged relationships between brothers and sisters structure the themes and plot of the play and remain unresolved at its end. Using the work of Freud, Judith Butler, and Marjorie Garber, the paper argues that "Twelfth Night" suggests a revision of the psychoanalytic theories of incest.

From the Paper:

"Arguments about the destabilization of desire and identity through cross-dressing are important ones. I would like to add to this discourse, however, by proposing that the sexual politics of Twelfth Night might be much more radical than has been widely recognized by queerly-inclined critics. Twelfth Night is a play that begins with two women consumed, excessively, by grief for their dead brothers, a play whose most touching and "believable" representation of love is that between brother and sister, a play whose desires can only be channeled into normative heterosexual order through an intricate reassigning of positions and replacement of a sister by a brother and a sexual love by a (supposedly) familial one: in short, it is a play structured and driven by incest."

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

"Twelfth Night": A Comedy of Incest (2004, February 03) Retrieved February 05, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/twelfth-night-a-comedy-of-incest-47313/

MLA Format

""Twelfth Night": A Comedy of Incest" 03 February 2004. Web. 05 February. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/twelfth-night-a-comedy-of-incest-47313/>