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Twelfth Night

William Shakespeare

Book Overview: 

Like many of Shakespeare's comedies, Twelfth Night centers on mistaken identity. The leading character, Viola, is shipwrecked on the shores of Illyria during the opening scenes. She loses contact with her twin brother, Sebastian, whom she believes to be dead. Masquerading as a young page under the name Cesario, she enters the service of Duke Orsino through the help of the sea captain who rescues her. Orsino has convinced himself that he is in love with the bereaved Lady Olivia, whose father and brother have recently died, and who will have nothing to do with any suitors, the Duke included. Orsino decides to use "Cesario" as an intermediary to tell Olivia about his love for her. Olivia, believing Viola to be a man, falls in love with this handsome and eloquent messenger. Viola, in turn, has fallen in love with the Duke, who also believes Viola is a man, and who regards her as his confidant.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Most certain, if you are she, you do usurp yourself; for what is yours to bestow is not yours to reserve. But this is from my commission: I will on with my speech in your praise, and then show you the heart of my message.

OLIVIA.
Come to what is important in't: I forgive you the praise.

VIOLA.
Alas, I took great pains to study it, and 'tis poetical.

OLIVIA. It is the more like to be feigned; I pray you keep it in. I heard you were saucy at my gates; and allowed your approach, rather to wonder at you than to hear you. If you be not mad, be gone; if you have reason, be brief: 'tis not that time of moon with me to make one in so skipping a dialogue.

MARIA.
Will you hoist sail, sir? here lies your way.

VIOLA.
No, good swabber; I am to hull here a little longer.—
Some mollification for your giant, sweet lady.

OLIVIA.
. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is my favorite ridiculous show and so I'm beginning this with a chart:
pink: marriage
blue: crush on
green: flirts with

So, yeah, this is a really really funny play, and a play with a lot of good puns, etc etc etc, and it is for that reason that it is entertaining. But this show is compell...more

Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Twelfth Night, a comedy written in 1601 by William Shakespeare. There are more reviews written about Shakespeare than either of us know what to do with, on, over or about. So you're not getting a review from me. What I will say is the following: Love him or not,...more

Reading Shakespeare is almost like going down into the basement of literature and examining the foundations.

So often I find the origins of what has become trite and overdone, and yet Shakespeare was the fountain from which so much springs. This is especially true of Twelfth Night, it is apparent...more

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.

This was fun. The thing is that comedies are always more fun on a stage. Ultimately, so are tragedies.
Shakespeare created a hilarious story of love, confusion and foolishness. There is a lot of genderbending a...more

I wish I could've seen what performances of this play were like in Shakespeare's time. Since women couldn't be on stage, men had to play the women's roles, which means that the guy playing Viola had to also dress up as a man while acting like a woman.
You have to wonder if the audience ever reall...more

Twelfth night is probably the most well rounded of all the Shakespearean comedies I have read so far, both for its structure and thematic scope, which is close to the darkest side of his best tragedies.

Evading the somewhat shallow hedonism of his earlier comedies, the perplexed reader encounters...more

Twelfth Night; or, What You Will, William Shakespeare

Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 160102 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season.

The play centers on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are...more

Twins: Freaky or Fun?
Twelfth Night is Shakespeare's answer to that age-old question.

While I was listening to this, I had no idea that Viola & Sebastian were twins. As far as I knew, they were just siblings. But, apparently, they were (<--if I had read the blurb, I would have known this).
An...more

The treatment of Malvolio is a little too cruel, Belch and Aguecheek are a little too coarse, and the resolution is a little too abrupt, and so this excellent Shakespearean comedy falls a little short of perfection.

Still, the poetry about music and the songs themselves are wonderful, Viola and O...more

Now a strange astonishing thing or two happened, off the west coast of the Balkans, ( Illyria) in an undetermined age, aristocratic identical twins a boy and a girl well around twenty, give or take a few years were lost at sea, shipwrecked by a powerful storm. Presumed drowned by the other surviv...more

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