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Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare


Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Let s practice translating Shakespeare s Language to today s English Rewrite these lines from Othello in today s ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  • Definition a comedic play has at least one
    humorous character, and a successful or happy
  • Characteristics of
  • The main action is about love.
  • The would-be lovers must overcome obstacles and
    misunderstandings before being united in
    harmonious union. The ending frequently involves
    a parade of couples to the altar and a festive
    mood or actual celebration (expressed in dance,
    song, feast, etc.)  Twelfth Night has three such
  • Frequently (but not always), it contains elements
    of the improbable, the fantastic, the
    supernatural, or the miraculous, e.g.
    unbelievable coincidences, improbable scenes of
    recognition/lack of recognition, willful
    disregard of the social order (nobles marrying
    commoners, beggars changed to lords),
    instantaneous conversions (the wicked repent),
    enchanted or idealized settings, supernatural
    beings (witches, fairies, Gods and Goddesses).
    The happy ending may be brought about through
    supernatural or divine intervention (comparable
    to the deus ex machina in classical comedy, where
    a God appears to resolve the conflict) or may
    merely involve improbable turns of events.
  • In the best of the mature comedies, there is
    frequently a philosophical aspect involving
    weightier issues and themes personal identity
    the importance of love in human existence the
    power of language to help or hinder
    communication the transforming power of poetry
    and art the disjunction between appearance and
    reality the power of dreams and illusions).

Twelfth Night What does the title refer to?
  • The play was written as a Christmas season
    production for presentation on Epiphany the
    twelfth night after Christmas, when, according to
    religious tradition, Jesus was introduced to the
  • It is a time for celebrating, gifts are
    exchanged, and parties and other celebrations
  • The full title of the play is Twelfth Night, or,
    What You Will i.e. Call it anything you

Twelfth Night
  • Type of work play (Shakespeare also wrote
  • Genre comedy
  • Time written between 1600-1602
  • Place written England
  • Tone Light, cheerful, comic occasionally
    frantic and melodramatic, especially in the
    speeches of Orsino and Olivia.
  • Tense Present (the entire story is told through
  • Setting (time) Unknown
  • Setting (place) The mythical land of Illyria
    (Illyria is a real place, corresponding to the
    coast of present-day Yugoslavia, but Twelfth
    Night is clearly set in a fictional kingdom
    rather than a real one.)

Twelfth Night Characters
  • Viola (a.k.a. Cesario)
  • Duke Orsino
  • Olivia
  • Sebastian
  • Malvolio
  • Feste
  • Sir Toby Belch
  • Maria
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek
  • Antonio

1. Viola
  • A young ___________ of aristocratic birth.
    Washes up on the shore of Illyria when her ship
    is ___________ in a storm, she decides to maker
    her own way in the world. She disguises herself
    as a _______, calling herself Cesario, and
    becomes a page to Duke Orsino. She ends up
    ___________ with Orsino, while the woman Orsino
    loves, falls in love with Cesario. Now she finds
    herself trapped she cannot tell Orsino that she
    loves him and she cannot tell Olivia why she, as
    Cesario, cannot lover her. Her dilemma is the
    central conflict to the play.

falling in love
2. Duke Orsino
  • A __________ nobleman in the country of
    __________. He is lovesick for the beautiful
    Lady Olivia, but finds herself more and more fond
    of his handsome new page, Cesario, who is
    actually a __________ - Viola. He mopes around
    complaining how heartsick he is over Olivia, when
    it is clear that he is chiefly in love with the
    _________ of _______________ and enjoys making a
    spectacle of himself.

being in love
3. Olivia
  • A _____________, beautiful, and noble Illyrian
    lady, she is __________ by Orsino and Sir Andrew
    Aguecheeck, but to each of them she insists that
    she is in __________ for her __________, who has
    recently __________ and will not __________ for
    _____ years. She and Orsino are similar
    characters in that each seems to enjoy wallowing
    in his or her own __________. Violas arrival in
    the masculine disguise of Cesario enables Olivia
    to break free of her self-indulgent melancholy.
    Olivia seems to have no difficulty transferring
    her affections from one _______________ to the
    next, however, suggesting that her romantic
    feelings like most emotions in the play do
    not run terribly deep.

love interest
4. Sebastian
  • Violas lost ____________. When he arrives in
    Illyria, traveling with Antonio, his close friend
    and protector, he discovers how many people seem
    to think that they ____________. Furthermore,
    the beautiful Lady Olivia, whom he has never met,
    wants to ____________.

twin brother
know him
marry him
5. Malvolio
  • The straitlaced head servant in the household of
    Lady Olivia. He is very efficient but also very
    ____________, and he has a poor opinion of
    drinking, __________, and __________. His
    haughty attitude earn him the enemies of Sir
    Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria who play a cruel
    __________ on him, making believe that Olivia
    __________________. In his dreams about marrying
    his mistress, he reveals a powerful ambition to
    rise above his _________________.

is in love with him
social standing
6. Feste
  • The _________ or __________ of Olivias
    household he moves between Olivias and Orsinos
    homes. He ________________ by making pointed
    jokes, singing old songs, being generally witty,
    and offering ___________ cloaked under a layer of
    __________. In spite of being a professional
    __________, he often seems the wisest character
    in the play.

makes his money
good advice
7. Sir Toby Belch
  • Olivias __________. Olivia lets ___________
    Belch lives with her, but she does not __________
    of his rowdy behavior, __________, heavy
    drinking, late-night carousing, or friends
    (specifically the idiotic Sir Andrew). He also
    earns the anger of Malvolio, but he has an ally,
    and eventually a __________, in Olivias
    __________ serving-woman Maria. Together they
    bring about the __________ of the controlling,
    self-righteous Malvolio.

Sir Toby
8. Maria
  • Olivias __________, __________, young
    serving-woman. She is remarkably similar to her
    antagonist, Malvolio, who harbors aspirations of
    _______________ through __________. She succeeds
    where Malvolio fails.

rising in social class
9. Sir Andrew Aguecheek
  • A __________ of Sir Tobys. He attempts to
    __________ Olivia but he doesnt _______________.
    He thinks he is witty, __________, __________,
    and good at languages and __________, but he is
    actually an __________.

stand a chance
10. Antonio
  • A man who rescues Sebastian after Sebastians
    __________. He is very fond of Sebastian, caring
    for him, accompanying him to Illyria, and
    furnishing him with __________. He is also an
    enemy of Duke Orsino.

Other characters
  • Fabian servant to Olivia friend to Maria, Sir
    Toby, and Andrew. Assists in the practical joke
    on Malvolio.
  • Valentine gentleman attending to the Duke
  • Curio gentleman attending to the Duke
  • Priest - (named Sir Topas) he marries Olivia to
    Cesario he is impersonated by Feste.
  • Captain (sea captain) assists Viola (helps
    disguise Viola as Cesario)

A Closer Look at the play
  • Plot Summary In Twelfth Night, as in most of
    his works, Shakespeare has several different
    plot-lines going on at the same time. He expertly
    weaves these separate stories together throughout
    the play. As the play begins to move towards its
    conclusion the different stories begin to
    converge until they all come together for a
    resolution in the final scenes.

Dramatic Structure
  • Major Conflict (__________) Viola is in love
    with Orsino, who is in love with Olivia, who is
    in love with Violas male disguise, Cesario.
    This __________ is complicated by the fact that
    neither Orsino nor Olivia knows that Cesario is
    really a __________ (Viola).
  • _____________ The mounting __________,
    ___________________, and _______________, leading
    up to Act V.
  • __________ __________ and ________ are ________,
    and everyone realizes that Cesario is a woman.
  • ___________ Viola _______________ Orsino
    Malvolio is freed and _______________.
  • __________________ Everyone goes off to

love triangle
Rising Action
mistaken identities
professions of love
Falling Action
prepares to marry
vows revenge
  • __________ as a cause of _________
  • The uncertainty of gender
  • The _____ of __________

  • As we read Twelfth Night, we will be summarizing
    the events and then examining the play on various
    literary levels. The following slides are charts
    that you will print-off my webpage (you will turn
    in a total of five charts/mini-assignments). Be
    sure to bring these charts each day so you can
    complete them as we read.

Act and Scene Summaries (As you read, summarize
each scene identify the who and the what then
summarize each act)
Act 1 Act 2 Act 3 Act 4 Act 5
Scene 1 Scene 1 Scene 1 Scene 1 Scene 1
Scene 2 Scene 2 Scene 2 Scene 2 X
Scene 3 Scene 3 Scene 3 Scene 3 X
Scene 4 Scene 4 Scene 4 X X
Scene 5 Scene 5 X X X
Themes Reflection Questions
  • As you read the play, explore the themes of 1)
    Vanity or "Self Love 2) Masks and Disguises
    (appearance vs. reality) 3) Fools and Ambition
    (the folly of ambition) 4) Gender Confusion
    (mistaken identities) 5) Love and Suffering
    (love as a cause for suffering)
  • 1) Vanity or "Self Love"
  • Who demonstrates vanity? How does it end up
    hurting them? Do they overcome it? How does each
    character's "self love" manifest itself?
  • 2) Masks and Disguises
  • Who disguises themselves and why? What disguises
    are literal and what are they meant to protect
    the person from? What other kind of masks do
    characters wear? When do they come off and why?
  • 3) Fools and Ambition
  • There are many kinds of Fools in Twelfth Night.
    What is the difference between each kind? How
    does each characters' ambition make them act like
    a fool? Who is made a fool in the play? What does
    this say about the characters?
  • 4) Gender Confusion
  • In Shakespeare's time, women were not allowed to
    perform on stage. So, all of the roles were
    performed by boys. This means that Olivia was
    played by a young boy. Viola was a boy,
    pretending to be a girl, pretending to be a boy!
    Imagine what a job that must have been! How does
    Shakespeare make this clear to us as an audience?
    How does he use it to humorous effect?
  • 5) Love and Suffering
  • How closely related are the ideas of love and
    suffering? Does anyone fall in love in this play
    who doesn't suffer? How does this relate to your
    own life? Do some of the characters even enjoy
    their own suffering?

As you read the play, explore the Common Motifs
(Patterns in Shakespeares plays)
  • Contrasting worlds
  • Rise of one person at the expense of another
  • Disguise and deceptions
  • The supernatural
  • Redemption / reconciliation
  • Disorder yields to order
  • Comic relief scene
  • Parallel characters / foils
  • Eavesdropping
  • Explore how each device occurs in the play?
  • What significance does it have in the overall
    plot or to the overall theme?

Apply the Patterns to Twelfth Night
Motifs found in many of Shakespeares plays Examples (use these or discover your own) Explanations (Further elaborate on the examples)
1. Contrasting worlds Appearance vs. Reality Male vs. female
2. Rise of one person at the expense of another Maria vs. Malvolio
3. Disguise and deceptions Viola Cesario
4. The Supernatural Idea of fate a ghost?
5. Redemption/Reconciliation Marriages
6. Disorder yields to order Mistaken identities and the revelation of the characters
7. Comic relief scene Festes verbal jabs with characters like Olivia and Cesario Malvolios letter
8. Parallel characters (or foils) Duke Orsino and Olivia Maria and Malvolio
9. Eavesdropping Sir Toby and Sir Andrew
Shakespeares Language
  • The language Shakespeare used is an early form of
    Modern English that is different from todays
    English in a variety of ways. The following
    list, with examples from Twelfth Night, describes
    some characteristics of Shakespeares English.
    Whereas some of the following practices were
    observed in everyday speech, others were poetic
    conventions. Shakespeare often used contractions
    or omitted syllables in order to maintain the

Shakespeares Language contd.
  • 1. Shakespeare frequently made contractions of
    words that we write separately today. He also
    dropped letters, particularly vowels, at the ends
    of words and in the ending est.
  • Orsino Tis it is not so sweet now as it was
    before. (1.1.8)
  • Toby Shell none o of th the Count.
  • Toby O knight, thou lackst lackest a cup of
    canary! (1.3.79)
  • Andrew And you love me, lets dot do it. I
    am dog at a catch. (2.3.61)
  • Remember if you see the apostrophe ( ), then
    something has been omitted.

Shakespeares Language contd.
  • Shakespeare omitted entire unstressed syllables
    or consonants from the beginning or middle of
  • Viola Whoeer whoever I woo, myself would be
    his wife. (1.4.42)
  • Malvolio Were not evn even now with the
    Countess Olivia? (2.2.1)

Shakespeares Language contd.
  • 3. Shakespeare used many words (such as the
    adverbs hence, thence, whence, hither, thither,
    and whither and the pronouns thy, thou, thee, and
    thine) that we no longer or rarely use today.
    Words that have dropped out of the language are
    called archaic.
  • Olivia Whence from what place came you, sir?
  • Duke Then let thy your love be younger than
    thyself yourself, ( 2.4.36)
  • hence from now thence from that time or
    place whence from what place? hither to
    this place, nearer, from here thither there
    whither from where? thy your thou you
    thee you thine yours prithee please Ay
    yes ho look there

Shakespeares Language contd.
  • 4. Archaic words include forms of verbs with
    endings such as th and st, as well as irregular
    verb forms such as spake (spoke).
  • Olivia Why, how dost do thou, man? What is
    the matter with thee? (3.4.24-25)

Shakespeares Language contd.
  • 5. Shakespeare freely used words as different
    parts of speech, sometimes inventing words in the
  • The following slides are words and phrases
    credited to Shakespeare

The human condition can be difficult to capture
through words, especially when the English
language is limited. In Shakespeares time,
there simply wasn't a single word for "lonely" or
"generous." So Shakespeare did what any person
in search of the right word does in times of
crisis He made them up. He is credited for
making up over 3,000 words. Here are some words
that Shakespeare is credited with inventing
  • daunting
  • dawn
  • deafening
  • demure
  • discontent
  • dishearten
  • dislocate
  • dwindle
  • educate
  • elbow
  • entomb
  • epileptic
  • equivocal
  • excitement
  • exposure
  • eyeball
  • fashionable
  • fixture
  • flawed
  • accused
  • addiction
  • advertising
  • aerial
  • alligator
  • amazement
  • arouse
  • articulate
  • assassination
  • bandit
  • beached
  • bedroom
  • befriend
  • besmirch
  • birthplace
  • blanket
  • blushing
  • bloodstained
  • bump
  • impartial
  • impede
  • investment
  • invulnerable
  • jaded
  • label
  • lackluster
  • lapse
  • laughable
  • leapfrog
  • lonely
  • lower
  • luggage
  • majestic
  • marketable
  • metamorphize
  • mimic
  • misplaced
  • monumental
  • pander
  • pedant
  • premeditated
  • radiance
  • rant
  • remorseless
  • savagery
  • scuffle
  • secure
  • submerge
  • summit
  • swagger
  • torture
  • tranquil
  • trickling
  • undress
  • unreal
  • varied
  • vaulting

Shakespeare also spent many of his hours trying
to come up with that almost agonizingly
appropriate phrase for some of his thoughts.
After all, what are words but minds at play?
Below is a long laundry list of the common
phrases Shakespeare is credited with inventing
(yes, he invented every phrase he wrote, but
these are the ones that have lasted into current
  • all corners of the world
  • All that glitters is not gold
  • as ____ as the day is long
  • as luck would have it
  • band of brothers
  • blinking idiot
  • budge an inch (or not)
  • catch cold
  • charmed life
  • dead as a doornail
  • devil incarnate
  • didn't sleep a wink
  • eat me out of house and home
  • fair play
  • fancy free
  • flaming youth
  • fool's paradise
  • forever and a day
  • for goodness' sake
  • make haste
  • method to one's madness
  • neither here nor there
  • no rhyme or reason
  • off with his head!
  • Oh woe is me
  • one fell swoop
  • play fast and loose
  • primrose path
  • rotten to the core
  • seen better days
  • send one packing
  • short shrift
  • sink or swim
  • Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and
    some have greatness thrust upon them
  • sorry sight
  • sweets to the sweet
  • the game is afoot
  • the game is up

Shakespeares Language contd.
  • 6. Shakespeare also inverted his sentences (that
    is, he rearranged the parts of a sentence).
    Presently, the normal sentence structure is
    Subject Predicate Subject verb
  • Shakespeare rearranged the parts of the sentence
    (i.e. by placing the complements before the
    subject or verb) in order to meet the meter or to
    emphasize one word or part of the sentence over
    another also it was common practice in his day.
  • For example
  • Olivia (Shakespeare) Under your hard
    construction must I sit, / To force that on you
    in a shameful cunning / Which you knew none of
    yours. 3.1.117-119
  • Olivia (Rearranged) I must sit under your hard
    construction harsh interpretation to force that
    on you in a shameful cunning which you knew none
    of yours.
  • Modern translation You probably think poorly
    of me after I forced that ring on you with such
    outrageous trickery.

Lets practice translating Shakespeares Language
to todays English
  • Rewrite these lines from Othello in todays
    English, replacing the italicized, archaic words
    and spellings with more modern forms.
  • 1. Andrew By my troth, the fool has an excellent
    breast. ... Twas very good i faith. I sent
    thee sixpence for thy leman. Hadst it?
  • 2. Toby Th art i th right. (2.3.118)
  • 3. Olivia I prithee tell me what thou thinkst
    of me. (3.1.140)
  • 4. Clown Nay, Ill neer believe a madman till I
    see his brains. (4.2.119-120)
  • 5. Sebastian Fearst thou that, Antonio?

By my truth (I swear), the fool as an excellent
breastIt was very good in faith. I sent you
sixpence for your leman. Did you have/get it?
You are in the right.
Please tell me what you think of me,
No, I will never believe a madman until I see his
Do you fear that, Antonio?
Tools for The Text Paraphrase
  • Reading a Shakespeare play can be a daunting
    task. Shakespeare's language can make it
    difficult to lose yourself within its pages.
    However, there are a few tools you can use to
    help break down the text into something more
    understandable and enjoyable.
  • The first tool is called Paraphrasing. This is
    when you take the text and put it into your own
    words. This is not only a useful tool for reading
    the language, but it is the primary method of
    deconstructing the text by the Shakespeare
    Festival's artists. Although the words used 400
    years ago are similar, their meaning was quite
  • Examine the following lines from the very
    beginning of Twelfth Night, when Duke Orsino
    demands more music, hoping it will cure his
  • If music be the food of love, play on,
  • Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
  • The appetite may sicken, and so die.
  • That strain again. It had a dying fall
  • O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound
  • That breathes upon a bank of violets,
  • Stealing and giving odor. Enough, no more.
  • 'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
  • One possible paraphrase might read
  • If it's true that music is the food of love, keep
    playing. Give me too much so I'll be stuffed and
    I won't want it any more. Play that bit again! It
    definitely had the right sound to make my
    appetite die. It sounded as sweet as a breeze
    that blows across a patch of violets. Taking
    their scent and giving it to me. Stop, that's
    enough. It's not as sweet as it was before.

Tools for the Text Imagery
  • Another great tool to further and deepen your
    understanding of Shakespeare is imagery. These
    are the pictures that Shakespeare paints with
    specific words. Just as pictures go through your
    mind when you read a book, Shakespeare used even
    more profound words to create very powerful
  • Let's look at Duke Orsino's monologue again
  • If music be the food of love, play on,
  • Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
  • The appetite may sicken, and so die.
  • That strain again. It had a dying fall
  • O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound
  • That breathes upon a bank of violets,
  • Take a look at the words in bold. Step one is to
    write down the first few images that come into
    your mind
  • Food_____________________________________________
  • Love_____________________________________________
  • Excess___________________________________________
  • Sicken___________________________________________
  • Dying____________________________________________
  • Sweet____________________________________________
  • Breathes_________________________________________
  • Violets__________________________________________
  • Now ask yourself what those images mean to you.
    How do they make you feel? What kind of actions
    do they make you want to do? What words effect
    you most?
  • Now that you've found some personal connection to
    these words, say the monologue out loud and allow
    those images to fill your mind. Allow them to
    effect you and your audience as you speak.

Tools for the Text Iambic Pentameter
  • Take a look at the monologue we used in the
    previous two examples. Did you notice a rhythm to
    the lines when you said them? Did you notice that
    the first letter of every line is capitalized?
    This is because Shakespeare chose to write much
    of his text in Iambic Pentameter. You'll find
    many explanations for what this means, but one
    simple way is to say that each line has 10
    syllables - 5 stressed and 5 unstressed. Here is
    an example
  • If music be the food of love, play on,
  • Count the syllables. You can see that it has 10
    syllables. Now we will break the line up into
    smaller sections that have two syllables. These
    sections are called feet
  • If mu sic be the food of love,
    play on,
  • Watch out when breaking a line into feet. You'll
    notice that sometimes a word can be broken up
    (like mu-sic). Now, within each foot there is
    usually one stressed and one unstressed syllable.
    In Iambic Pentameter, the second syllable in a
    foot usually gets the strong stress.
  • If mu sic be the food of love, play on,

Tools for the Text Iambic Pentameter contd.
  • One easy way to remember how the stresses work in
    Iambic Pentameter is that is sounds like you were
    to say "eye-am" five times. Try it
  • I am I am I am I am I am
  • There are several reasons why Shakespeare used
    this form for his writing. One was because of
    it's beautiful sound and the strong rhythm which
    is similar to the beating of the human heart.
    Another was that Iambic Pentameter is very close
    to the normal rhythm of every day conversation.
    This helped the actors memorize their lines
    since, 400 years ago, they only had a few days of
    rehearsal before performing a play. Another was
    that it gives the actor the choice as to which
    words are more important. When an actor goes
    through his/her script to mark the feet and
    decide what syllables get the stresses it is
    called scanning the script. Try it
  • If mu sic be the food of love, play on,
  • Give me ex cess of it, that, sur feit
  • The app et ite may sick en, and so die.
  • That strain ag ain. It had a dy ing fall
  • Did you make every other syllable strong? Or did
    you decide that some syllables were more
    important than others? This is one thing that
    makes acting Shakespeare so unique. The actor
    gets to choose what words and phrases are

Tools for the Text Variations to Iambic Lines
  • Not all Shakespeare lines are alike! He loved to
    break the rules in order to give instruction to
    the actors or make the lines more interesting.
    Sometimes you'll find line of text that has less
    than 10 syllables. If you look closely you might
    find a line right after it that is short as well.
    When you combine them, do they make 10 syllables?
    Here is an example where Olivia confesses her
    love to Viola.
  • Viola I pity you.
  • Olivia That's a degree to love.
  • This is an example of a shared line. The
    combination of the syllables suggests to the
    actors that these two lines really work as one.
    Therefore the actor knows the stage direction is
    that the actor playing Olivia should speak right
    away after Viola's line without pausing- she
    should "jump her cue".
  • But what about a line with more than 10
  • Viola I am all the daughters of my father's
  • A line with 11 syllables contains what we call a
    feminine ending. This suggests that the character
    is in such a heightened emotional state that they
    are trying to cram extra words into their line.
  • FYI There are many different theories about how
    Iambic Pentameter should be used. Some scholars
    believe that there can only be five strong or
    stressed beats per line. Many classical actors
    and directors believe that you can scan a line in
    any way you want and that the only way to tell is
    by trying it out loud. Basically what scanning
    comes down to is What works for you? What makes
    the most sense to you and gives you the best
    connection? Hopefully you can use these tricks to
    help bridge the 400 years between Shakespeare and

Modern Translation of Twelfth Night
  • Sparknotes has a modern translation of
    Shakespeare on-line No Fear Shakespeare.
  • http//
  • Its a good idea to re-read the sections that
    were read in class using the Modern translation.
  • From Act I, Scene 1, it looks like this

Original Modern (paraphrase)
  • ORSINO If music be the food of love, play on.
  • Give me excess of it that, surfeiting,
  • The appetite may sicken, and so die.
  • That strain again, it had a dying fall.
  • Oh, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,
  • That breathes upon a bank of violets,
  • Stealing and giving odor. Enough, no more.
  • 'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
  • O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,
  • That, notwithstanding thy capacity
  • Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
  • Of what validity and pitch soe'er,
  • But falls into abatement and low price
  • Even in a minute. So full of shapes is fancy
  • That it alone is high fantastical.
  • ORSINO If its true that music makes people more
    in love, keep playing. Give me too much of it, so
    Ill get sick of it and stop loving. Play that
    part again! It sounded sad. Oh, it sounded like a
    sweet breeze blowing gently over a bank of
    violets, taking their scent with it. Thats
    enough. Stop. It doesnt sound as sweet as it did
    before. Oh, love is so restless! It makes you
    want everything, but it makes you sick of things
    a minute later, no matter how good they are. Love
    is so vivid and fantastical that nothing compares
    to it.

Act 1 (recap)
  • As the play opens Orsino, the handsome Duke of
    Illyria, is love-sick because the beautiful
    countess Olivia will not return his affections.
    She is in mourning for her brother and will not
    show her face (or receive suitors) for seven
    years. This show of devotion, rather than putting
    Orsino off, only fuels his love.
  • Around the same time, a young noble woman
    named Viola is brought ashore in Illyria after
    surviving a violent shipwreck. The captain of the
    ship was able to rescue her and bring her alone.
    She mourns her twin brother, Sebastian, who was
    lost at sea. Viola gets the captain to assist her
    in dressing as a boy so that she can get a job
    with Duke Orsino.
  • In Olivia's home, Maria, her gentlewoman (or
    head maid), scolds Sir Toby Belch for his late
    hours and drinking. He is Olivia's Uncle and has
    been living off of his wealthy niece for years.
    Maria warns Sir Toby that Olivia is losing
    patience with his rowdy ways and with a foolish
    knight named Sir Andrew Aguecheek that Toby
    brought to be a suitor for Olivia. Sir Andrew
    joins the two and proves himself to be a fool
    while trying to introduce himself to Maria. She
    leaves, disgusted.
  • Viola's plan for disguising herself as a man
    works and, calling herself "Cesario", Viola
    becomes a trusted member of Orsino's court.
    Orsino entrusts Cesario (Viola disguised as a
    man) with the task of proposing to Olivia in his
    name. This is a very difficult task for Viola
    because as Cesario she must serve her master, but
    as Viola she is already in love with Orsino.
    Still, she goes to do her duty.
  • Maria enters with Feste, a clown that worked
    for Olivia's father. Though a fool by trade, he
    is very wise and sees much of what is going on
    around him. He has been absent from the court for
    some time and Maria thinks that Olivia will throw
    him out of the house. When Feste greets his
    mistress, she tries to do just that but he makes
    her laugh and she forgives him. This doesn't
    please Malvolio, Olivia's Steward (the servant in
    charge of the household), who does not like
    Feste. He puts the fool down very harshly. Olivia
    dismisses Malvolio saying that he is full of
    "self love".
  • As Cesario, Viola is rudely received by
    Olivia's servants, but eventually gets in to see
    the Countess. Though Olivia listens to the
    speeches from Orsino, she tells Cesario that she
    can not love the Duke. She sends him away saying
    that the Duke should not send anybody else to
    herexcept Cesario. After Cesario leaves, Olivia
    admits that she has fallen in love with him. She
    sends Malvolio after him with a ring, claiming
    that he left it with her.

ACT ONE How Are They Related?In Act 1,
Shakespeare introduces the main characters in his
comedy and begins to reveal the nature of their
relationships. As you read the act, note the
pairs of characters who are connected by blood,
emotion, duty, or need. Write the names of these
characters above the figures. Then, on the lines
between them, summarize their apparent
relationship. Answer the questions at the bottom
of the page.
Apparent Relationship _______________ ___________
____ _______________ Apparent Relationship ______
_________ _______________ _______________
Character _______________ Character ________
Character _______________ Character ________
  1. On the basis of what you know so far, choose one
    of the pairs of characters above whose actual
    relationship is different from their apparent
    one, and describe the difference between the
    appearance and the reality of their bond.
  2. Which of these relationships do you predict will
    change during the play? Choose one relationship,
    and describe how you think it will change. Give
    one reason for your prediction.

Olivia falls in love with a man? - (A Lesson in
Analysis from Act 1)
  • In this exercise/activity, you will examine
    Olivia's reaction to Cesario and his speech.
  • In Act 1 of Twelfth Night, various themes on love
    emerge. We will examine these themes and you
    will support your analysis with references from
    the text.
  • This analysis will also help you understand
    Olivia's character by interpreting her words in
    1.5.309-312 using different subtexts.

Olivia falls in love with a man? - (A Lesson in
Analysis from Act 1)
  • Think about the following themes/concepts from
    Act One
  • Attitudes toward love
  • Dukes feelings for Olivia
  • Violas feelings for the Duke
  • Olivia's feelings lack of for the Duke
    Olivias interest in Cesario
  • Reasons for love
  • Give examples of how these topics are developed
    in Act 1 using plot instances and/or specific
    lines in the text. List your findings and
    corresponding line numbers under each topic.
  • --------------------------------------------------
  • Read 1.5.309-312 aloud together.
  • Hand out prepared emotion note-cards to
  • Each volunteer is read the line aloud as
    motivated by the emotion on the card.
  • The rest of the students will try to identify the
    feeling as interpreted by the reader.
  • You have just practiced finding the subtext
    (literally, the "under words" or meaning an actor
    gives to a line by varying the volume, tone,
    rate, and pitch of his/her voice).
  • Which readings were substantiated by the events
    in the play and the earlier analysis of the
    topics in Act I. Which interpretations worked,
    and why? Which were believable?

Act 2 (recap)
Act 3 (recap)
ACT THREE Who is Olivia? Why are all these men
in love with her?One way to learn about Olivia
is to listen to what other characters say about
her and compare their views with her own words
and actions. Use the graphic below to record
other characters opinions of Olivia. In each
characters oval, copy a passage about Olivia
spoken by that character in Act 1, 2, or 3. Then
answer the following questions
  1. In Act 3, scene 1, read lines 159-164. Olivia
    declares her love Cesario, by the roses of the
    spring, By maidhood, honor, truth, and
    everything, I love thee so that, despite all
    thy pride, Nor wit nor reason can my passion
    hide. What do these words and the action they
    refer to reveal about Olivias character?
  2. Why is it that Olivia rejects these men and falls
    in love with Cesario?

Sir Andrew Aguecheek
Duke Orsino
Act 4 (recap)
Act 5 (recap)
ACT FIVE A Study in ContrastsViola and Malvolio
are foils, characters who set off each others
personalities by virtue of their obvious
differences. The contrast brings out the
distinctive qualities of each character and often
highlights an important way in which they are
alike. Complete the diagram below to show the
ways in which Viola and Malvolio are opposites
and one important way in which they are alike.
Then answer the questions that follow.
Viola Both Malvolio
  1. What do you think is more important the
    similarities or the differences between the two?
    Explain your response.
  2. What other pairs of characters in the play could
    be considered foils? Choose one pair and
    describe how the two are a study in contrasts.

Discussion Groups
  • Themes
  • Motifs
  • Study Questions
  • Quotations

Study Questions
  • 1. Notice how Shakespeare uses different types of
    language -- prose, rhymed verse and blank verse
    (unrhymed iambic pentameter, "Marlowe's Mighty
    Line") -- to differentiate between characters
    (i.e. serious and comical nobility and social
    climbers) or to create other effects (increased
    solemnity or silliness poetic effects song). 
    Be sensitive to the way in which the type of
    language used adds to the meaning(s) Shakespeare
    is attempting to convey.
  • 2. Twelfth Night moves from a potentially tragic
    situation (shipwreck and loss) into the joyous
    realm of romantic comedy (unions and reunions). 
    The movement from conflict, sterility and death
    (two women who mourn supposedly dead brothers) to
    fertility, harmony and life (three couples
    happily celebrate marriages that may lead to
    future births) is typical of Shakespeare's
    comedies and romances (e.g. The Tempest). What
    makes the three final couples "well-matched"? 
    How do they differ from the three potential
    couples that are not ultimately united in
    marriages?  What do these pairings teach about
    what Shakespeare and his audience viewed as an
    "appropriate" match?
  • 3. Twelfth Night dramatizes the seduction
    scenario we have noted as a common thread in much
    lyric poetry of the Renaissance and early 17th
    century.  There are six distinct sets of
    potential or actual couples three involve Olivia
    as the female object of desire one has Olivia as
    the desiring female subject one has Viola as the
    desiring female subject and one links the comic
    characters Sir Toby Belch and Maria.  Know the
    characters (by name!) in each of these potential
    or actual couples, and be aware of the ways in
    which the characters and their real or
    imagined/potential love stories intersect and
    interact. Which of the couples are parallel to
    each other?  Which are contrasted?  How much do
    the different lovers (and love relationships)
    have in common? (e.g. equality or social inequity
    of the potential partners motivation for desired
    union--social climbing? "love at first
    sight"-style physical desire? true knowledge of
    another's qualities and character?). How does
    Shakespeare use these parallel relationships and
    characters to unify the play as a whole? 
  • 4. Consider the comical effect of the
    gender-bending caused by Viola's masquerade as a
    young man, "Cesario," who is later confused with
    her own (supposedly dead) twin brother,
    Sebastian.  (Given that women's parts in
    Shakespeare's time were originally played by
    young boys, the gender-bending gets even more
    complex.)  How does the gender-bending within the
    play add to our picture of what the Renaissance
    and early seventeenth century saw as
    "appropriate" behavior for women? (For a similar
    case of gender-bending, compare Rosalind in As
    You Like It.)

Study Questions contd.
  • 5. Notice the various uses of the theme of
    deception within the play (e.g. deceptive
    appearances, deceptive words/language, and the
    related theme of self-deception).  Which
    characters are most clear-sighted about their own
    qualities and motives?  Which are manipulating
    appearances in order to deceive others?  What are
    their motivations for doing so?
  • 6. Note the imagery of hellfire, demons and
    damnation (particularly prevalent in the second
    half of the play).  Are these to be understood
    literally or figuratively? How is this imagery
    connected to the theme of deceptive appearances? 
    Compare/contrast with similar references/themes
    in other literature (e.g. Dr. Faustus, the Faerie
    Queene and Paradise Lost.).
  • 7. Note the satire of Puritanism (personified by
    Malvolio).  What is it about Malvolio that the
    other characters so dislike?  Why does Olivia put
    up with him?  Is his punishment by the trickery
    of the comical "low lifes" deserved?  Why or why
    not?  Is the Malvolio subplot there only for
    comic relief, or does it convey a more serious
    message? If so, what?   
  • 8. It is thought that Twelfth Night was first
    written for the "Carnival"-like festivities of
    the feast of the Epiphany (the "twelfth night" of
    Christmas, January 6) these raucous celebrations
    involved a temporary inversion of the established
    social order.  This "world upside-down" theme is
    reflected not only in some of the mismatched
    (potential) couples in the play, but in the
    themes of folly, madness and foolishness.  Which
    characters in the play behave most
    foolishly? What do you make of the official
    "Fool," Feste?  (Note that a court jester such as
    Feste, Touchstone in As You Like It, or the Fool
    in King Lear had the license to speak freely
    things that no one else would dare say openly).
    Is "folly" or "foolishness" an unavoidable part
    of being in love? Why is Malvolio punished so
    cruelly?  (Are his aspirations and behavior any
    more foolish than those of the other would-be
  • 9. Note the use of music and song in the play. 
    How do the various songs punctuate or comment
    upon the action?  Some of the songs may
    origianlly have been intended for Viola (who
    notes in 1.2.52-55 a talent for music that she
    had intended to use to get into the good graces
    of Duke Orsino).  What is the effect of giving
    the songs to Feste rather than Viola (or any
    other of the lovers)?  Do they suggest a special
    connection between Viola and Feste?  In what ways
    are they alike?  How do they differ?

Quotations Who said it?
  • If music be the food of love, play on
  • Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
  • The appetite may sicken, and so die.
  • So full of shapes is fancy
  • That it alone is high fantastical.
  • The element itself, till seven years' heat,
  • Shall not behold her face at ample view
  • What country, friends, is this?
  • Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be
  • When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see.
  • By my troth, Sir Toby, you must come in earlier
    o' nights
  • Confine! I'll confine myself no finer than I am
  • these clothes are good enough to drink in

Quotations Who said it? contd.
  • I left no ring with her what means this lady?
  • Fortune forbid my outside have not charm'd her!
  • O time! thou must untangle this, not I
  • It is too hard a knot for me to untie!
  • Come hither, boy if ever thou shalt love,
  • In the sweet pangs of it remember me
  • It gives a very echo to the seat
  • Where Love is throned.
  • There is no woman's sides
  • Can bide the beating of so strong a passion
  • As love doth give my heart
  • I am all the daughters of my father's house,
  • And all the brothers too