A wonderful post, Miss Barefoot Fairy. I wonder about the meaning of the Twelfth Night and the reason Shakespeare used this as the title of the play. In Christian circles it is indeed the arrival of the wise men, and the Epiphany, or revelation of some great truth, said to occur on this day. Perhaps Shakespeare is saying through the poem that it is time to get wise. I think wisdom and the getting of it is a serious business, and I see merit in Malvolio’s insistence that they pipe down, while he tries to sleep and prepare for the first day back at work. Does Belch know when to be serious, or is he that type of larrikin that is fun to be around sometimes, but too much merriment becomes tedious.
The Puritans have a dilemma. They take pleasure in being morbid and straight. But when they accomplish this, then they become proud and even happy with themselves. This happiness is not allowed. So they throw on their sackcloth and ashes and flagellate themselves again, in order to rein in the spirit of happiness.
It has once again been a pleasure to study with you this semester.