Twelfth Night or, What You Will

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Twelfth Night or, What You Will

MAIT 402 Book Presentation

Twelfth Night, Or, What you Will

VIOLA: a lady of messaline shipwrecked in Illyria - disguised as CESARIOOLIVIA: Illyrian countessMARIA: Olivia's lady in waitingSIR TOBY BELCH: Oliva's kinsmanSIR ANDREW AGUECHEECK: Sir Toby's companionMALVOLIO: steward in Olivia's householdFOOL: named Feste, Olivia's jesterFABIAN: gentlemen ORSINO: Duke of IllyriaVALENTINO/CURIO: gentlemen serving OrsinoSEBASTIAN: Viola's twin brotherANTONIO: Sebastian's friendCAPTAINPREISTTWO OFFICERS

Shakespeare wote Twelfth Night in the middle of his career around 1601 - it was only published in the first folio and without the folios, this play never would have been published.This is Shakespeare's only play to have an alternate title, i.e. What you Will. Critics debate what the two titles mean, but Twelfth Night refers to the holiday of Christmas, July 6th being the 12th night of Christmas. This was a big holiday and festival in Shakespeare's time.Considered to be one his greatest comedies alongside As You Like it and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Historical Context


Gender Ambiguity: Viola disguises herself as a enuch to save herself, but this causes conflict with other's love lives. It also draws on other homoeroticism with other characters.Love/Suffering: Many of the characters in this play suffer from melancholy or love sickness because they are unable to be with the person they lust after.Social Ambition: There is class commentary at play between many characters that reflect the Elizabethan era.


MOTIFS/SYMBOLSMadness: no one is truly insane, but madness is accused to reflect the madness of the plot.Disguises: many characters take on disguises in the play that reveal truths of characters and their ambitions.Gifts/Tokens: representations of love and mistaken identity.

MAJOR CONFLICT: Viola is in love with Orsino, who is in love with Olivia, who is in love with Viola’s male disguise, Cesario. This love triangle is complicated by the fact that neither Orsino nor Olivia knows that Viola is really a woman.RISING ACTION :The mounting confusion, mistaken identities, and professions of love leading up to Act V.CLIMAX: Sebastian and Viola are reunited, and everyone realizes that Viola is really a womanFALLING ACTION: Viola prepares to marry Orsino; Malvolio is freed and vows revenge; everyone else goes off to celebrate

Modern Movie Adaption

Plot Points

Modern Movie Adaption


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