Twelfth Night is written by William Shakespeare, the most recognised author in the whole universe. Actually he died at the age of 52 in United Kingdom. Besides Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet, he had a notable 154 number of sonnets to his literary career.
In Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, this quote emerged: “Lady, you are the cruell’st she alive”. As seen in the image below, it was part of the advice given by Viola to Olivia.
Twelfth Night is a drama about attraction and love which the author enriched by employing the tool of mistaken identity. Beautiful Olivia fell in love with Viola who disguised to be a male. Viola called herself Cesario to completely disguise like a male while working for Duke Orsino who she also fell in love with.
The Poetic Device
The line in quote “Lady, you are the cruell’st she alive” possess some interesting poetic devices. There is an hyperbole in the line “the cruell’st” which exagerate the trait of Olivia in the drama. The use of “she” to represent the general female folks can be considered a synecdoche. Another attention to the chosen line is in the diction which is archaic_ not a modern expression that a layman can easily comprehend.
Hyperbole is the poetic device of our present attention. This poetic device enjoys an everyday usage both in real life experience and in the fiction. Examples of hyperbole in other works of Shakespeare are: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (act 1, scene 1) there was “with cunning hast thou fliched my daughter’s heart”. Romeo and Juliet (act 2, scene 2) there was “two of the fairest stars in heaven”.
There so many reasons people embrace hyperbole in their expressions or creative writing. Few of those are (1) to beautify language, (2) to add creativity, (3) to express observation, (4) to entertain the listening ears, (5) and many more other reasons.
Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)