- Twelfth Night is a play about desire’s power to override conventions of class, religion, and even gender. Several characters begin the play believing they want one thing, only to have love teach them they actually want something else. Orsino thinks he wants Olivia, until he falls in love with Viola (dressed as Cesario.)
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Twelfth Night In the kingdom of Illyria, a nobleman named Orsino lies around listening to music, pining away for the love of Lady Olivia. He cannot have her because she is in mourning for her dead brother and refuses to entertain any proposals of marriage. Meanwhile, off the coast, a storm has caused a terrible shipwreck.
Play Summary. Various critics divide Twelfth Night into various types of plots and/or subplots. Regardless of the exact number of plots and subplots, however, the main thing is that they are all woven together with immense skill to ultimately compose a single pattern or tapestry. There is, first, the group centering around the ducal nobility of Illyria: this group consists of Duke Orsino and his attendants, who open the play, and the Countess Olivia, who is the main topic of discussion of ...
Twelfth Night Summary. Viola, separated from her twin Sebastian, dresses as a boy and works for the Duke Orsino, whom she falls in love with. Orsino is in love with the Countess Olivia, and sends Viola to court her for him, but Olivia falls for Viola instead. Sebastian arrives, causing a flood of mistaken identity, and marries Olivia.
Twelfth Night. The tale of a young woman who disguises herself as a man and becomes entangled in the courtship of two local aristocrats upends conventions of romance and gender roles. First staged in 1602, Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s most performed plays. Read a character analysis of Viola, plot summary, and important quotes.
Understand every line of Twelfth Night . Read our modern English translation . Next. Act 1, scene 1. In the kingdom of Illyria, the Duke Orsino laments over his unrequited love for the Lady Olivia, who is in mourning for her brother and has refused to see anyone for seven years. Meanwhile, a ship has been wrecked by a storm off the coast, casting the young noblewoman Viola onto shore.