April 17, 2013
Twelfth Night Blog
“Aristotle, Aquinas, and Machiavelli walk into a board room” was the title of the speech I attended yesterday afternoon. The speaker did an excellent job of discussing the ideas and general principles of the three men. As entertaining as the speech was, it was equally filled with a lot of knowledge on ideas like prudential wisdom, virtue and prudence, and state and soul craft. He also proved to the audience that Machiavelli’s beliefs and practices were different than those of Aquinas and Aristotle. Many of these ideas that were discussed relate to "Twelfth Night” a play written by William Shakespeare. Overall the play centers on the idea of a vicious love triangle and also a terrible case of mistaken identity which plays a key role in the outcome of the play. But within the basic plot of the story we also watch as characters make some questionable decisions. The play gives a balanced look into the lives of all of the characters which allows for a rather humorous read.
In “Twelfth Night” we watch as a secondary character named Sir Toby teams up with Maria and play a rather dark prank on a friend of theirs named Malvolio. The prank leads the rest of the house to believe that Malvolio is possessed by Satan and he is therefore locked in a dark room and tied to a chair. Maria and Sir Toby should end the prank and reveal that they were joking but they allow for the prank to carry on and it upsets Malvolio. The actions of Sir Toby point to the fact that his priorities and his morals are a bit out of line. The speaker at the event discussed the idea of prudence which is defined as the discretion in practical affairs. Clearly Sir Toby takes this joke too far and is obviously not discrete in this affair which leads to Malvolio becoming rather angry with him at the end of the play. The speaker also discussed the belief in business craft which he stated had two parts. The first was having an immediate concern and the second was concerned with the good of order. Clearly Sir Toby does not care for either of these ideas and allows the good of order to be disrupted and also has no immediate concern to calm down Malvolio.
The speaker for the event made a great analogy between the business world and the water cycle by stating that both are always flowing and both are an example of a scheme of recurrence. “Twelfth Night” also flows but in a different way and allows the reader to view the triangle of love from the perspective of all of the members of said triangle. Shakespeare used his literary genius to create a well written and especially a well-balanced comedy. The speaker also showed great balance in stating the ideas of Machiavelli, Aquinas, and Aristotle and proving which ideas were similar and which ones were different.