"Better a witty fool than a foolish wit." Discuss the function of inversion and hierarchy in William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'.

Ilyria is a festive setting in Twelfth Night, one of 'misrule' and subversion that inverts traditional models of Shakespearean hierarchy. This is perhaps best demonstrated by the figures of Malvolio and Feste, whose powers in the play seem to extend far beyond the remit of their courtly roles - at least initially. This being the case, I will argue that they are empowered to seek upward social mobility through the play's comic environment, and that this is because it suspends social hierarchy.Firstly, Feste's wordplay throughout proves that his character is capable of associating with figures of a higher class than himself. In the above quote, for instance, he cites fake philosopher 'Quinapalus' to Maria, the Lady Olivia's servant and confidante. In doing so, he tries to prove himself an intellectual, thereby placing him on a level with her and enacting a kind of playful ascension to her rank. [...]

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