[MUSIC] 12 micros ever more chaotic and conflictual as its plot advances. In Acts III and IV, the effort to prank Malvolio gets completely out of hand. Olivia makes the mistake of asking sir Toby to care for Malvolio when he shows up in her presence acting in ways that she interprets as madness. As Dr. Simonetta explained in the previous module, instead of ending the prank, Toby and his crew keep it going, imprisoning and taunting the steward. Early in the play Viola's presence in Illyria creates turmoil at least for Olivia. In a place latter acts Viola herself experiences turmoil. Her love for racino grows more intense, desperate, in her words, and her brother Sebastian's arrival leads to even more disorder. A practical joke cooked up by Sir Toby goes awry because when he convinces Sir Andrew to challenge Cesario to a fight, he mistakenly challenges Sebastian instead. Where Toby hoped to get a good laugh out of seeing Sir Andrew and Cesario try to pretend to know how to handle themselves in a duel. Sebastian knows perfectly well what to do. Viola's twin soundly beats both Toby and Andrew. As for Olivia, she also confuses Sebastian for Cesario. Where Cesario resisted her advances, Sebastian welcomes them. Olivia believes that the object of her desires had a change of heart. She asked Sebastian to marry her again thinking she's won the love of Cesario, and Sebastian accepts the proposal. This inventory of all the chaos in Acts III and IV shows Shakespeare working to amplify the confusion in his play. The action of the play appears to be getting out of hand. At the end of Act IV, it's difficult to imagine how Shakespeare will resolve his multiple storylines. It as if Shakespeare was challenging himself to create as complex a puzzle as he possibly could, and then solve it as cleverly and elegantly as he possibly could. Shakespeare exploits the resources of comedy as a kind of experiment in seeing how much narrative interest and humour could be derived from his basic premise. The key to the play's resolution of two of its main plots at least is the reunion of the twins, Viola and Sebastian. The realization that Sebastian and Cesario are not the same person and that Cesario is Viola for the characters on stage untangles the plot's knots. Retrospectively, it is clear that the comedy is hinged on keeping Viola and Sebastian apart for as long as possible. The scene of reunion shows Shakespeare working to intensify the play going experience at the close of his play, when he finally reunites the twins. One of his primary strategies is to emphasize the strange and almost supernatural effect that Viola and Sebastian arriving on stage at the same time. Du Corsino is the first to notice that the two are identical. One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons. A natural perspective, that is and is not. Antonio has been brought to the stage to be interrogated by the Duke, reinforces the sense of seeing something that both is and is not. He asked Sebastian, how have you made division of yourself? As if Sebastian were some kind of deity that could generate two versions of himself. As for the twins, finding each other again also feels like magic, like a kind of resurrection of the dead. As Sebastian processed to the young man who looks uncannily like his sister, I had a sister whom blind waves and surges have devoured. In response to Sebastian's request for evidence about her identity, Viola addresses Sebastian as if he were a ghost, referring to the clothes he wears. Sebastian's twin says, so went he suited to his watery tomb. If spirits can assume both form and suit, you can come to fright us. In the moment, the twins cannot quite get their minds around what is happening. They can't believe what they're seeing. The certainty that the other was dead gives way to the dawning awareness that death has been cheated. The reunion provides an almost magical sense that catastrophic loss can be overcome. That what was lost can be found again. The theme will become central to play Shakespeare will write at the end of his career. In Twelfth Night, in this climactic moment, Shakespeare imbues his conclusion with the feeling of being in the presence of a miracle. Olivia as I kind of stand in for the audience when she remarks in response, most wonderful. The sense of wonder gives way to the dawning realization that the marriage between Olivia and Sebastian was the result of mistaken identity. Olivia has married the wrong twin. How is this going to be sorted out? The plot twist is funny, but it also gives pause. How are we supposed to imagine Olivia responding to this news? The concern of those most neatly involved is not that Olivia has married someone other than whom she fell in love with, but that she might have married an inappropriate partner. Sebastian tells Olivia, so comes it, lady, you've been mistook. But, nature to her bias drew in that. You would have been contracted to a maid. Nor are you therein, by my life deceived, you or betrothed both to a maid and man. Sebastian puns like festive, you almost married a maid, and you did in fact marry a maid. The word maid can mean an unmarried young woman. But it can also mean someone of either gender, who is a virgin. Sebastian's playful logic creates and solves a paradox. He is both a maid and a man to the extent that he is a virgin and thus in terms of the definition of marriage in Illyria and Renaissance England, an appropriate person to have married. Orsino builds on the effort by reassuring Olivia that Sebastian is at the proper social station. Be not amazed, Orsino tells her, right noble is his blood. As it turns out, Orsino new Sebastian and Viola's father, at least by reputation and is thus able to provide the needed assurance that the marriage is no disgrace to Olivia. Such assurances appear to satisfy Olivia. She is a character in a dramatic comedy after all, and it happens frequently that this kind of arbitrary pairing takes place in Shakespeare's plays. That is, the logic of comedic closure is not always concerned about the deeply personal experience of love, but about conforming to the demands of the institution of marriage. Sebastian's metaphor in the speech I've quoted helps illuminate this point. Sebastian explains to Olivia that nature to her bias, corrected what it takes to be Olivia's mistake. As many have pointed out, Sebastian's metaphor refers to a renaissance version of bowling. The balls used in this game were biased, they had an off center weight in them that caused the ball to curve as it rolled. Nature is like a bowler able to use the bowling balls swerve to hit its target. In more modern terms, nature has a built in bias towards marriage. Olivia fell in love with Cesario and that is in itself, not a mistake. The mistake to Sebastian is the idea that the two of them legally could marry which was not a possibility in Renaissance England or apparently in Illyria either. Comedy as a genre follows the vicissitudes of desire, but concludes by directing all of that chaotic and rebellious energy of love into the institution of marriage. The bias of which Sebastian speaks is in the genre of comedy. Comedies end in the union of lovers and the renewal of society by the reaffirmation of one of its central institutions. And Twelfth Night provides not one but three marriages. The revelation that Cesario is Viola paves the way for a second wedding. Orsino, after his fashion, proposes to Viola on the spot, a proposal Cesario, who will be Viola when she gets her proper clothes back, happily accepts, and as we learn along the way Sir Toby has married Maria for the brilliance of a practical joke on Malvolio. Shakespeare delivers on the narrative promise of comedy super abundantly. Of course with Shakespeare, it is always more complicated. However committed Shakespeare may be to fulfilling the demands of the genre, he also understands the limits of the genre. Twelfth Night raises questions and concerns that cannot be resolved by marriage. Rather than sweep these under the rug, Shakespeare foregrounds the elements of his play, ongoing social antagonisms that resist formulaic resolution. My colleagues and I think further about the complexity of Twelfth Night's conclusion in the following round table discussion.