Twinship and Occult References in Twelfth Night
Keywords:androgyny, comedy, denouement, doubles, ending, genius, ghosts, magic, mystery, multiplicity, renaissance, occult, plato
We think of Renaissance dramatic comedies as ending when facts and reason dispel misconceptions, such that a rational and coherent picture of the narrative whole emerges. Yet in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night certain elements in the denouement—involving nature, androgyny, and spiritual genius and related to magic and occultism—emphasize a multiplicity or surplus of meaning that resists rationalization and closure. With such devices, Shakespeare imbues comedy with intellectual depth, memorability, and affective power, even joy.
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