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For those who feel a sense of disquiet and ambivalence amid the joy of the conclusion, Feste’s closing song seems to provide some support. The song is the last of many musical numbers in the play, and it is also one of the most melancholy, recounting a story of growing up to discover the harshness and unkindness of life. Comedy and romantic bliss triumph in Twelfth Night, but through characters like Malvolio and Feste, Shakespeare leaves us with a feeling of unease. Like the feast that gives the play its name, Twelfth Night is festive and joyful—but all feast days must come to an end, the concluding song suggests, and give way to the “wind and the rain” of life (V.i.387).
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