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Twelfth Night

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Twelfth Night William Shakespeare was baptised on the 26th April 1564, and as it was the tradition for children to be taken to the church for this only a few days after birth, April 23rd has been traditionally held as his actual birthday. It also fits relatively nicely for English person to be born on St. George's Day as this represents England. He was born in Stratford upon Avon. In 1601, near the middle of Shakespeare's career, it is assumed he wrote the play Twelfth Night. Generally critics measured it to be one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies alongside with plays for instance as you like it, much ado about nothing, and a midsummer nights dream. Twelfth Night is mainly about five things, the first four are illusion, deception, disguises, madness and the fifth is the astonishing actions that love will cause us to do. This humorous play was also well acknowledged as one of his 'transvestite' comedies, as the play has a female protagonist. The females who are firstly played by men have to disguise themselves as a woman then from that woman once again disguise themselves into a man (features female protagonist who for one reason or another have to disguise themselves as men). Shakespeare had an alternative title for his play but this was the only play that had this. The play is called Twelfth Night or what you will. Critics are shared into two halves when discussing what the two titles mean but Twelfth Night is usually judged to be a reference to the epiphany, or the Twelfth Night of the Christmas celebration (January 6th). ...read more.


I'll serve this duke;" she is not as courageous and fearless as her twin brother Sebastian, who goes straight to the duke explains the situation and who he is. Viola's judgement on the captain is that she is vastly fond of him he tries to reassure her that her brother may possibly have survived the wreckage and continued to exist " I saw your brother most provident in peril, bind himself to a strong mast, that liv'd upon the sea". She is awfully obliged " for saying so, there's gold". Viola is furthermore appreciative for the captain's assistance in helping her learn much information abort Illyria. He tells her where they have arrived, then who governs Illyria "noble duke in nature, as in name...Orsino". He explains to her about Olivia and Orsinos ongoing unrequited love for her "that he did seek the love of fair Olivia...a virtuous maid" The captain also lets her in on the situation" her brother who shortly died... she hath abjur'd the sight and company of men". And aiding her to disguise herself, "I thank thee lead on" When Viola says her brother is in "Elysium". It's that her brother is deceased and gone to Elysium, which in Greek mythology is the home of the blessed in the after- life. The captain's reference to Arion is explained as a Greek musician who was carried to safety by a dolphin. Arion had thrown himself into the sea so that he could break away from murderous sailors. ...read more.


Sir Andrew Ague-cheek like Sir Toby also has a humorous name. Ague is a disease, which can be compared to malaria and when you have it you have fits and shakes. Sir Andrew is an appalling and clumsy dancer. In Shakespearean times star signs controlled certain things. Sir Andrew is a Taurus and that controlled the legs so Sir Andrew ought to be a high-quality dancer as he was born under the sign of Taurus If I was directing a performance of Twelfth Night, the historical period I would set it in would be Georgian. The Georgian period began when King George 1 came to the throne in 1714 and continued through the reigns of George 2 and George 3 until about 1811. I decided to set it in Georgian times as I feel it's unique and it's a very different period of time to Shakespearean. I picked the costume I have chosen for Sir Toby for the reason that it's a smart outfit and he could look very sophisticated in it. Except, as he is Sir Toby Belch he looks scruffy as he has not shaved and has not got an adequate hairstyle. He also has a "beer belly" from the excessive amount of alcohol he absorbs and the amount of food he devours. I have coloured him in bright colours in view of the fact that he is loud and outgoing and usually, loud and outgoing people wear flamboyant clothes. I have also drawn him with his hand in his pocket; his pocket is where he stores small snacks and pocket-sized bottles of alcohol. This is a distinctive and typical characteristic of Sir Toby as I mentioned before he take pleasure in food and drink. ...read more.

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Related AS and A Level Twelfth Night essays

  1. Cruelty in "Twelfth Night" - an examination of Shakespeare's comedy's darker side.

    She uses her brother's and father's deaths as an excuse and says that she will mourn for them for the next seven years and not have any boyfriends during this period of time. This is cruel to Orsino because as soon as Olivia meets Cesario she falls in love with

  2. How does Shakespeare explore the theme of deception and self-deception in Twelfth Night?

    We know this from the quote, "She'll none o' th' Count; she'll not match above her degree, neither in estate, years, nor wit. I have heard her swear't. Tut, there's life in't, man. Sir Toby told Sir Andrew a half-truth about Olivia liking men having lower wealth, age and intellect

  1. Discuss the different types of love presented in Twelfth Night

    From this quote, we can see that she is lost in her own praise and thinks that everyone wants to see her because of her beauty which is not true at all. So from this we can see that Olivia does display self-love revealing a vain and proud disposition of herself.

  2. Twelfth Night is a feminist play. Discuss.

    Maria, on the other hand, has the power over Sir Andrew, and Sir Toby. She is the strategist amongst the men, and is the one who comes up with the plot against Malvolio, also a male. Perhaps, this suggests that Maria is able to cause the men go against another male, a similar species of them.

  1. Examine the ways in which Shakespeare uses structure and language to dramatise the comparisons ...

    A letter forged by Maria, supposedly from Olivia soon leads to more deceit in the play as Malvolio tries to earn her favour by following the suggestions of dressing in yellow stockings and crossed garters, acting arrogantly, smiling constantly and refusing to explain himself to anyone, it is his own self-conceit that causes him to easily fall into the trap.

  2. Love in 'Twelfth Night'.

    I'm not totally sure why he did what he did for this type of love? Friendship is the third type of love expressed in "Twelfth Night." The biggest and closest friendship would have to be between Orsino and Cesario. They barely knew each other at first, and before long Orsino was telling Cesario his inner love for Olivia.

  1. The Dramatic Importance of Act 1 Scenes 1 and 2 referring to other parts ...

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  2. Consider Shakespeare's presentation of Orsino and Olivia in Twelfth Night and consider how they ...

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