night, when thou spokest of Pigrogromitus, of the. Vapians passing the equinoctial of Queubus: 'twas very good, i' faith. I sent thee sixpence for thy leman : hadst. Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the public and we . But Shakespeare's plays were not published the way modern novels or plays are Twelfth Night—an allusion to the night of festivity preceding the Christian.

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Twelfth Night; or, What You Will is a comedy, believed to have been written The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the. Educational online resource for the William Shakespeare play Twelfth Night with the full text and script. Comprehensive free online text and script of each Act. Shakespeare Theatre Company's production of. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. This season, the Shakespeare Theatre. Company presents seven plays.

At any point in the text, you can hover your cursor over a bracket for more information. Synopsis Twelfth Night—an allusion to the night of festivity preceding the Christian celebration of the Epiphany—combines love, confusion, mistaken identities, and joyful discovery. After the twins Sebastian and Viola survive a shipwreck, neither knows that the other is alive.

Viola, in the meantime, has fallen in love with Orsino. Malvolio is tricked into making a fool of himself, and he is locked in a dungeon as a lunatic. In the meantime, Sebastian has been rescued by a sea captain, Antonio. When Viola, as Cesario, is challenged to a duel, Antonio mistakes her for Sebastian, comes to her aid, and is arrested.

Olivia, meanwhile, mistakes Sebastian for Cesario and declares her love. Malvolio, blaming Olivia and others for his humiliation, vows revenge. Characters in the Play Viola, a lady of Messaline shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria later disguised as Cesario. He also wrote the first Book of Common Prayer, adopted in , which was the official text for worship services in England. The reign of wife, Catherine of Mary witnessed the reversal of religion in England Aragon, for her failure to produce a male heir.

Only through the restoration of Catholic authority and one of their children, Mary, survived past infancy. Many Protestants fled to Europe approval, which he did in Thus, in the space of a Act of Succession.

This succession gave Protestant Introduction to Early Modern England Many Catholics, who remained loyal to Rome and their church, were persecuted for their beliefs. At the other end of the spectrum, the Puritans were persecuted for their belief that the Reformation was not complete.

The English pejoratively applied the term Puritan to religious groups that wanted to continue purifying the English church by such measures as removing the episcopacy, or the structure of bishops. Translated by William Tyndale in , the first authorized Bible in English, published in , was known as the Great Bible.

Known as passive obedience, this doctrine did not allow any opposition even to a tyrannical monarch because God had appointed the king or queen for reasons unknown to His subjects on earth.

Parliament, already well established in England, reserved some power, such as the authority to levy taxes, for itself. Elizabeth I lived in a society that restricted women from possessing any political or personal autonomy and power. As queen, Elizabeth violated and called into question many of the prejudices and practices against women.

However, her position did nothing to increase the status of women in England. Both of the monarchs under whom Shakespeare lived had to deal with religious and political dissenters. Elizabeth I Despite being a Protestant, Elizabeth I tried to take a middle road on the religious question.

She allowed Catholics to practice their religion in private as long as they outwardly appeared Anglican and remained loyal to the throne. In addition, throughout her reign, Elizabeth brilliantly negotiated between domestic and foreign factions — some of whom were anxious about a female monarch and wanted her to marry — appeasing both sides without ever committing to one.

She remained unmarried throughout her year reign, partially by styling herself as the Virgin Queen whose purity represented England herself. Her refusal to marry and her habit of hinting and promising marriage with suitors both foreign and domestic helped Elizabeth maintain internal and external peace.

Not marrying allowed her to retain her independence, but it left the succession of the English throne in question. Some historians refer to him as James VI and I. Like Elizabeth, James was a strong believer in the divine right of kings and their absolute authority. Upon his arrival in London to claim the English throne, James made his plans to unite Scotland and England clear. However, a long-standing history of enmity existed between the two countries.

Partially as a result of this history and the influx of Scottish courtiers into English society, anti-Scottish prejudice abounded in England. As scholars such as Bevington have pointed out, James was less successful than Elizabeth was in negotiating between the different religious and political factions in England.

Although he was a Protestant, he began to have problems with the Puritan sect of the House of Commons, which ultimately led to a rift between the court which also started to have Catholic sympathies and the Parliament. James I commissioned elaborate feasts, masques, and pageants, and in doing so he more than doubled the royal debt. The primary distinctions between these two classes were ancestry, wealth, and power.

Simply put, the aristocrats were the only ones who possessed all three. Aristocrats were born with their wealth, but the growth of trade and the development of skilled professions began to provide wealth for those not born with it. Shakespeare himself used the wealth gained from the theatre to move into the lower ranks of the aristocracy by securing a coat of arms for his family. Shakespeare was not unique in this movement, but not all people received the opportunity to increase their social status.

Members of the aristocracy feared this social movement and, as a result, promoted harsh laws of apprenticeship and fashion, restricting certain styles of dress and material. These Intro.

When Elizabeth died, and James became king, Shakespeare largely eschewed such plays that celebrated a largely untamed feminine spirit. The status of women The legal status of women did not allow them much public or private autonomy. In fact, the family metaphorically corresponded to the state. For example, the husband was the king of his family.

People also saw the family itself differently than today, considering apprentices and servants part of the whole family. There are other ways in which traditional gender roles are inverted in Twelfth Night. Olivia, who like Queen Elizabeth, is head of her household, is in a position of authority throughout the play, trying to maintain peace between the choleric Malvolio and the sanguineous Toby.

We see her controlling her household, while Orsino, by contrast, is somewhat less authoritative: He would rather lounge about his house passively and recite poetry than go hunting, either for deer or for Olivia. In the absence of a male heir, some women, such as Queen Elizabeth, did. But after women married, they lost almost all of their already limited legal rights, such as the right to inherit, to own property, and to sign contracts.

In all likelihood, Elizabeth I would have lost much of her power and authority if she married. Furthermore, women did not generally receive an education and could not enter certain professions, including acting. Instead, society relegated women to the domestic sphere of the home. In Twelfth Night, however, we see such gender stereotypes challenged in many ways.

The strongest character in the play, Viola, is sympathetically portrayed as adopting a male disguise in order to transcend the typical gender restrictions of her time. Families usually possessed limited living space, and even among wealthy families multiple family members tended to share a small number of rooms, suggesting that privacy may not have been important or practical.

Working through the morning, Elizabethans usually had lunch about noon.

This midday meal was the primary meal of the day, much like dinner is for modern families. The workday usually ended around sundown or 5 p. Before an early bedtime, Elizabethans usually ate a light repast and then settled in for a couple of hours of reading if the family members were literate and could bear the high cost of books or socializing. Mortality rates Mortality rates in Early Modern England were high compared to our standards, especially among infants.

Infection and disease ran rampant because physicians Intro.

As a result, communicable diseases often spread very rapidly in cities, particularly London. We now know that the plague was spread by fleas and could not be spread directly from human to human.

Without a cure or an understanding of what transmitted the disease, physicians could do nothing to stop the thousands of deaths that resulted from each outbreak. London life In the sixteenth century, London, though small compared to modern cities, was the largest city of Europe, with a population of about , inhabitants in the city and surrounding suburbs. London was a crowded city without a sewer system, which facilitated epidemics such as the plague.

Twelfth Night

In addition, crime rates were high in the city due to inefficient law enforcement and the lack of street lighting. Despite these drawbacks, London was the cultural, political, and social heart of England.

Not surprisingly, a young Shakespeare moved to London to begin his professional career. Furthermore, because theatre performances took place during the day, they took laborers away from their jobs. Opposition to the theatres also came from Puritans who believed that they fostered immorality. Therefore, theatres moved out of the city, to areas near other sites of restricted activities, such as dog fighting, bear- and bull-baiting, and prostitution.

Despite the move, the theatre was not free from censorship or regulation. In fact, a branch of the government known as the Office of the Revels attempted to ensure that plays did not present politically or socially sensitive material. Prior to each performance, the Master of the Revels would read a complete text of each play, cutting out offending sections or, in some cases, not approving the play for public performance.

Performance spaces Theatres in Early Modern England were quite different from our modern facilities. They were usually open-air, relying heavily on natural light and good weather. The rectangular stage extended out into an area that people called the pit — a circular, uncovered area about 70 feet in diameter.

Audience members had two choices when downloading admission to a theatre. Admission to the pit, where the lower classes or groundlings stood for the performances, The theatre Most theatres were not actually located within the city of London. These The recently reconstructed Globe Theatre.

People of wealth could download a seat in one of the three covered tiers of seats that ringed the pit. At full capacity, a public theatre in Early Modern England could hold between 2, and 3, people.

The stage, which projected into the pit and was raised about five feet above it, had a covered portion called the heavens. The heavens enclosed theatrical equipment for lowering and raising actors to and from Shakespeare in Love shows how the interior of the Globe would have appeared.

A trapdoor in the The Everett Collection middle of the stage provided Shakespeare was able to include enough in the play theatrical graves for characters such as Ophelia and to please an aristocratic audience as well as a less edualso allowed ghosts, such as Banquo in Macbeth, to cated one.

At each end of the wall stood a door for Actors and staging major entrances and exits. However, theatre the wealthiest spectators. Actors occasionally used companies developed their costumes with great care this area when a performance called for a difference and expense. These extravagant cosor the walls of a besieged city.

Because only the men. Young boys whose voices had not reached wealthy could afford the cost of admission, the pubmaturity played female parts. This practice no doubt lic generally considered these theatres private. Certainly, Intro. Scholars of Early Modern theatre have turned to the scant external and internal stage directions in manuscripts in an effort to find these answers.

While a hindrance for modern critics and scholars, the lack of detail about Early Modern performances has allowed modern directors and actors a great deal of flexibility and room to be creative.

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In directing Twelfth Night and other Shakespeare plays, as in writing about them, we are in some ways co-authoring it, just as each harpsichordist who interprets a Bach concerto, although reading the music note for note, achieves a unique effect. Accustomed as we are, in the early twenty-first century, to special effects, in the theatre as well as in movies which have, in many ways, more in common with the Shakespearean theatre than contemporary theatre does , we may initially downplay the importance of words in Shakespeare.

For Shakespeare, language was not only the means by which characters communicate to each other but also served a function that today is largely served by so-called special effects. Sheets would be printed one side at a time; thus, printers had to simultaneously print multiple nonconsecutive pages. In order to estimate what section of the text would be on each page, the printer would cast off copy.

After the printer made these estimates, compositors would set the type upside down, letter by letter.

This process of setting type produced textual errors, some of which a proofreader would catch. When a proofreader found an error, the compositors would fix the piece or pieces of type. Printers called corrections made after printing began stop-press corrections because they literally had to stop the press to fix the error. Because of the high cost of paper, printers would still sell the sheets printed before they made the correction.

Printers placed frames of text in the bed of the printing press and used them to imprint the paper. They then folded and grouped the sheets of paper into gatherings, after which the pages were ready for sale. The downloader had the option of getting the new play bound. The inconsistent and scant appearance of stage directions, for example, makes it difficult to determine how close this relationship was.

If not for the printing press, many Early Modern plays may not have survived until today. Theatre was a collaborative Intro. Rather than lament our inability to determine authorship and what exactly Shakespeare wrote, we should work to understand this collaborative nature and learn from it. Shakespeare discouraged publication of his plays while he was alive because publication would allow rival acting troupes to perform the plays and thus threaten his economic livelihood.

While this fact means that much of the textual debate that surrounds other Shakespeare plays such as Hamlet, whose quarto and folio versions are significantly different is avoided when considering the text of Twelfth Night, it in no way ensures that the text we have today is what Shakespeare wrote.

Twelfth Night

It is quite possible, for example, that the actor who played Feste, Robert Armin, had at least some hand in writing his own lines. Some have suggested that Armin, a professional fool and author, as well as an actor who played one, actually improvised his jokes so that each night a theatre audience would see a somewhat different play.

Printers could have used any one of these copies to print a play. Shakespeare wrote his plays for the stage, and the existing published texts reflect the collaborative nature of the theater as well as the unavoidable changes made during the printing process.

From there, a scribe would recopy the play and produce a fair copy. The theatre manager would then copy out and annotate this copy into a playbook what people today call a promptbook. At this point, scrolls of individual parts were copied out for actors to memorize. Due to the high cost of paper, theatre companies could not afford to provide their actors with a complete copy of the play. The government required the company to send Works cited For more information regarding Early Modern England, consult the following works: Bevington, David.

Updated Fourth edition. Greenblatt, Stephen. Up until quite recently, most Shakespearean critics and scholars have steadfastly adhered to a false, one-sided Intro. These critics argue that the tragedies deal far more with the problematics of a male subjectivity left largely unchecked by women, while the comedies divide their concerns more equally between men and women.

Twelfth Night

Thus, because the comedies abound with quick witty dialogue while the tragedies are more full of long speeches and soliloquies, the comedies are often deemed less poetic. Yet if we broaden our idea of poetry to allow for wit and dialogue, we may find that the comedies are at least as poetic as the tragedies, especially when considering Twelfth Night, which has both long speeches with high poetic diction and quick witty banter.

In fact, the witty banter and emphasis on dialogue in Shakespearean comedy is very much a comment on these tragic conventions. In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare employs comic conventions to keep tragedy in check: The unfettered subjectivity, isolation, and alienation of the tragic hero, destructive to himself as well as to the society of which he is a part, is satirized and often successfully countered by the serious foolery in this play.

Twelfth Night has no tragic heroes, though the characters of both Orsino and Malvolio contain elements of the tragic hero. But life requires constant compromises and accommodations with society in general, as well as with other individuals, and the comedies, with their plurality of perspectives and seemingly gratuitous banter which require an acute attentiveness to language and the slipperiness of the present , have much to teach us.

The conclusion of Twelfth Night adheres to Shakespearean comic convention: the promise of multiple weddings. The Everett Collection Intro. Generally speaking, comedy is opposed to tragedy insofar as the latter plays end in death while the former end in marriage. The difference between comedy and tragedy is largely a function of how the plays end; one sleight of the authorial pen, and Romeo and Juliet becomes a comedy and Twelfth Night a tragedy. Shakespeare, throughout his career, manipulated and complicated this convention.

For example, Antony and Cleopatra seem more united in death than they ever did in life. The play adheres to comic conventions. Three couples are paired off by the end of the play, and a brother and sister are 19 reunited — yet the world that the play presents is, in the final analysis, more the point of the play than whether or not the ending is happy.

Generally speaking, Shakespearean comedy is also distinguished from tragedy by several other factors. While tragedies often take their name from their central characters, none of the comedies do. While all of these distinguishing factors may be seen in Twelfth Night, we must remember that each play whatever its generic classification handles these themes differently.

In Twelfth Night, we are still invited to laugh, but more typically the laughter is with the characters Intro. We are not afforded any omniscient, Puck-like perspective from which to gaze on the follies brought on by love in Twelfth Night. This is not to say that Twelfth Night is an especially dark play, but that it contains a harmonious balance between comic and tragic elements. Even though all these threats come to nought, they serve as a reminder of how eros love , in Shakespeare, can so quickly slide over into thanatos death.

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In fact, many of the characters speak of love in terms of death. In Twelfth Night, love is seen as similar to death, The comic character, Malvolio, from a Royal Shakespeare Company because both pose a threat, production of Twelfth Night. The very language that one uses of the play, Olivia is mourning a dead brother.

Sebasto communicate with another may end up meaning tian and Viola, fraternal twins, have just survived a more, or at least differently, than what one intended. Yet in both of these cases, The characters in the play that cling to a singuthe severing by death of a fraternal bond, seems to lar sense of self that does not allow for change are force these characters to ready themselves for a more often the ones for whom change happens most viomature adult love.

Malvolio is the most notable example of this, Later in the play, when the plot entanglements heat up, we learn of other near-brushes with death.

Pranks orchestrated by Sir Toby and Sir Andrew lead them perilously close to being killed by Sebastian. Most significantly, Orsino threatens to kill but Orsino, too, although he claims to be open to love, is, beneath all his high rhetoric, deeply afraid of any mutual love relationship. By Intro. Perhaps because, being shipwrecked on a strange land and having lost her brother though not her money! What may be a virtue in other realms of experience becomes a debilitating stubbornness when it comes to erotic love.

Fate, show thy force; ourselves we do not owe. What is decreed must be — and this be so! Shakespeare, in the person of Olivia here, gets to the heart of the relationship between self and love. When we fall in love, we almost necessarily lose our self-composure, cease to be able to see our actions with our own eyes or realize, perhaps for the first time, that we could never see our actions in the first place.

The Everett Collection lesson about the most noble, if not necessarily rewarding, attitude to take toward the risk that love entails: for Olivia, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Their lapses and mini-tragedies occur when they try to control a situation that, by definition, must remain beyond their control. For if we do not owe ourselves, then somebody else does, and every relationship with others actually creates our self, our sense of identity, much more than any pre-existing sense of essence does.

The heroine of this play, Viola, although extremely passive when it comes to expressing and acting directly on her own desire for Orsino, is Intro. We do not have control over who loves us, and we do not have control over whom we love.

Identity will always be fragmentary and incomplete until one is able to love, regardless of whether one is loved in return. Yet if that love is frustrated and in Shakespearean comedy, it almost always is at first, as frustration is precisely what moves the plot , it may sometimes turn into hate. Even Malvolio, in his pathetic attempt to please Olivia, shares more of the wisdom that Olivia expresses in the above quote than Orsino does. How dost thou, my good fellow?

Clown Truly, sir, the better for my foes and the worse for my friends. Duke Just the contrary, the better for thy friends. Clown No, sir, the worse. Duke How can that be? Clown Marry, sir, they praise me and make an ass of me; now my foes tell me plainly I am an ass: so that by my foes, sir, I profit in the knowledge of myself, and by my friends I am abused: so that, conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negatives make your two affirmatives, why then, the worse for my friends and the better for my foes.

Duke Why, this is excellent. The fool, here as elsewhere, is like a zen-master, using absurdity to point out the absurdity of common sense.

He simply cannot see how he may profit by his enemies, by those who thwart his desires. Identity and disguise One of the central motifs of this play is identity and mistaken identity.

Identity like so many words in this play has a double sense. On the one hand, identity differentiates one thing from another by noting the individuality of each.

On the other hand, identity also implies likeness or resemblance. When we Intro. And this tension between likeness and difference generates much of the action in the comic and romantic plots. Both plots depend on Viola and Sebastian being identical in appearance, yet two different people.

His ability to reveal the unstable nature of identity itself, however, is profoundly disturbing. In Illyria, characters like actors take on fictive roles, and the line between being someone and playing someone is as tenuous as the line between reality and illusion.Generally, playwrights wrote their works to be performed on stage, and publishing them was a novel innovation at the time.

The play tells us the stories of different characters of different classes. Working through the morning, Elizabethans usually had lunch about noon. Olivia, meanwhile, mistakes Sebastian for Cesario and declares her love. Later, the major transgressing in the strictly normative society about marriage and estate status comes from our Countess Olivia who not only rejects a royal proposal from Orsino and the so called gentleman Andrew Aguecheek but also is completely smitten by Orsi o s ser a t Cesario.

Then this play offers us this character of Malvolio who can be seen as the flag earer of so ial aspiratio s , a serious Puritan man with ill humour , the one who gets mocked and befooled by the witty Sir Toby Belch and the maid Maria.

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