The use of language and deception
in Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors in
relation to the characters.
Language has forever held a hypnotic power over us, influencing the way we think and act. Today in a world of mass-media and the vast access of the Internet the power of language has an even more significant effect upon us. In 1984 George Orwell warns us of the effects mass syndicated wordplay can have on society. Though the situation has not turned to the extreme Orwell predicted, we can see modern examples of the propaganda he warned of. Take for example the war with Iraq. It has been called “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. Our method of bringing freedom to Iraq of course is by bombing it extensively and taking it over.
What does this have to do with Shakespeare though? He isn't trying to brainwash us with his plays is he? No, that's silly. He does however recognize and show us the power of language, displayed in his works Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors. Throughout both plays, a single word can change the way the characters think about the situation and also the way they act. This can be true in real life personal situations as well. Consider, that after finishing a job interview the interviewer says, “Thanks for your interest, we'll get back to you.” You now know that you most definitely aren't going to get the job and should start looking somewhere else. While not exactly the same, Shakespeare's word choice can have the similar effects.
The use of deception and two faced language brings up the question, what is the connection between the language in these plays and the characters themselves? Was Shakespeare trying to get a point across? He definitely was; the language in The Comedy of Errors and The Twelfth Night is as deceptive as the characters; in being so deceptive, the characters prove that they do not know the reality of their own identity. This means that the people who use or experience this wordplay and...