English Language and Literature


In lieu of an abstract, below is the first paragraph of the paper.

"Male friendship is, indeed, the basis on which civil society is founded" (Montaigne 220). While analyzing Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, it is essential to understand the great value that society placed on male friendship during the Renaissance time period. In his essay "Of Friendship," Michel de Montaigne attempts to demonstrate the very slight distinction between male-male friendship and homoerotic behavior between men. Some argue that throughout Twelfth Night, the thin line between male-male friendship and homoeroticism is discreetly played upon. However, closer examination of the relationships between Orsino and Cesario, Sir Andrew and Sir Toby, and Antonio and Sebastian display how Shakespeare eliminates this distinction made by Montaigne, and, as a result, undermines the notion of true friendship in Twelfth Night. Highlighting the lack of honesty and equality, as well as the possibility of erotic attachment within these male relationships emphasizes the play's deconstruction of Montaigne's distinction.

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