A Version of My Favorite Movie
On Wednesday night, I had the privilege of attending a Shakespeare play “Twelfth Night”, performed by the American Shakespeare Center. This fascinating play expresses similar themes to the poems and short story, “Suburban” by John Ciardi, “Ode to American English” by Barbara Hamby, and “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe. Themes including disguise, mistaken identity and being aware of our surroundings and are all acknowledged in “Twelfth Night”.
“The Cask Of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe is a short story that thoroughly displays the theme of disguise. The narrator, Montresor, plots revenge on his friend Fortunato because Fortunato insulted him. He uses his knowledge of his friends joy of wine to set him up and ultimately bury him alive. Montresor gives Fortunato an opportunity to taste a very rare drink called Amontillado in order to lead him to his death trap. When he takes Fortunato to the cellar where he says the drink kept, he traps him and buries him alive. Montresor disguises himself as a friend who has good intentions. He says, “I have my doubts, and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain”(1062). Montresor claims to be a man who trusts Fortunato’s judgement, and a man who wants his friend to experience a rare occasion with something he is so fond of. Similarly, in “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare, one of the main characters, Viola, part-takes in her own version of disguise. After being shipwrecked and assuming her brother is dead, she disguises herself as a man in order to work in the home of Duke Orsino. Viola is thought to be a man, but she is a women falling in love with Duke. She can’t come to tell Duke how she feels because of her perceived gender. Although “Twelfth Night” ends romantically with Viola and Duke together, and “The Cask of Amontillado” ends with death, the theme disguise is perceived the same way; bad. When we disguise ourselves, we are hiding our true identity and our true feelings. As people, we can’t possibly be understood. A Jesuit education demands us to express our opinions, thoughts, and feelings. It stresses the importance of having ambitions and going after what you believe you deserve. Because Viola was in disguise, her ability to do this was affected tremendously. If we are constantly in disguise, we are camouflaging who we are, and what we know and feel is invisible.
“Suburban” by John Ciardi is a humorous poem with a theme of mistaken identity. Mrs. Friar, an impatient and irritated neighbor, accuses Mr. Ciardi’s dog of going to the bathroom on her petunias. Because Mr. Ciardi’s dog is in Vermont with his son, he knows his dog is innocent. He picks up the waste anyways and carries it over to his own flowers and buries it in his soil. His response to Mrs. Friar surprises us because we would normally expect someone in Mr. Ciardi’s situation to ignore his neighbors complaint, but he does the complete opposite. There is a flash of mistaken identity when Mrs. Friar accuses Mr. Ciardi’s dog of going to the bathroom on her flowers, when in reality, she is incorrect. In “Twelfth Night” the theme is the same and quite unusual. There is an intense, and complicated love triangle between Duke Orsino, Lady Olivia, and Viola/Cesario. Duke Orsino is in love with Lady Olivia, and Lady Olivia is in love with Cesario who is, in fact, a woman (Viola). Similarly in the poem “Suburban”, there is also mistaken identity of which dog went to the bathroom on her precious flowers. Cesario is definitely not who “he” says he is. Viola’s male clothing and male mannerisms may make her appear to be her brother, but in reality she is not. The characters around her think that they know exactly who Cesario is, but her true identity is completely hidden. Unfortunately, no one has the potential to know who Viola really is because she is trapped under a body that really isn’t hers.
“Ode to American English” by Barbara Hamby is an entertaining poem about her memories and love of America. She recalls many ways about American culture and customs that she misses while away. These include, “hotdogs”, “monster hip-hop stereos”, and “donuts”. The author misses America now that she is in Europe, and everything she thought was typical and everything she was used to is no longer there. This reminds me greatly about my own experiences. Transitioning to college resembles the writer’s experience in Europe very much. We both miss what we are used to and what we are comfortable with. Continuing yet starting life in a new place very different from what you’re used to is difficult. We have tendencies to replay the memories and ideas of the things we love most and wish we could have. After living the college life for a little bit over a month, I have moved on from wishing I was home, and wishing I could sleep in my own bed or shower in my own bathroom. I’ve learned to appreciate and take full advantage of what is around me. The friends I have made, and my own personal growth from doing so is incredible. Even though Barbara Hambry can’t have a hotdog from America doesn’t mean that the place she is in is terrible. It is important that everyday we are become aware with what is around us because what is around us is wonderful, and life has so much to offer. In Twelfth Night, Viola was madly in love with Duke Orsino, but his heart was set on Lady Olivia. Of course, Duke couldn’t have known better that Viola felt this way because she was disguised as a man! There is no way for him to see that Viola was the woman he truly loved. But even while Viola was disguised as Cesario, Duke was very fond of her and they get a long very smoothly. This scenario goes along with being open-minded, and aware of our surroundings because sometimes what we’re looking for is right in front of our eyes.
The production of “Twelfth Night” was remarkable. I never had the opportunity to read or see this play prior to Wednesday, but I was engaged throughout the entire production. Throughout the play, the names of the characters, and the plot continuously reminded me of another type of production I enjoy. I came to realize my favorite movie of all time, “She’s The Man” is a parody of this exact Shakespeare play. In “She’s The Man”, all the character’s names are the same, the name of the school is Illyria, and the plot is matching! Although I was enjoying the play all ready, knowing my favorite movie is based off this play made me love it that much more. I would recommend that everyone see this play. The cast was incredibly enthusiastic, expressive, and entertaining. I hope the American Shakespeare Center comes back to Loyola soon!