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  1. William Shakespeare. 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.

  2. Full Title: Twelfth Night, or What You Will When Written: c. 1601 Where Written: England When Published: 1623 Literary Period: The Renaissance Genre: Comedy Setting: Illyria (an ancient area on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, between contemporary Croatia, Albania, and Montenegro) Climax: The weddings of Viola and Orsino, and Sebastian and Olivia

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  4. 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.

  5. Twelfth Night is far from the only Shakespeare play to employ cross-dressing as a narrative technique; As You Like It and The Merchant of Venice make use of it as well. These plays feature female protagonists who, for one reason or another, have to disguise themselves as young men.

  6. Jul 26, 2020 · As Twelfth Night opens, Orsino, the duke of Illyria, is stalled in his desire for the countess Olivia, who, in mourning for her brother, has “abjured the company and sight of men” to live like a “cloistress” for seven years to protract an excessive, melancholy love of grief.

  7. Now aware that Cesario is in fact the woman, Viola, Orsino declares that he is in love with her and asks her to marry him. It is reported that Sir Toby and Maria have also married privately. Finally, Olivia remembers Malvolio and summons him out of the dark room. Furious, he accosts her.