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    • What is the meaning of Twelfth Night by Shakespeare?

      • William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night; Or, What You Will is a comedy rich in poetry and puns, a masque concerning masks, a romance with none of the required elements missing. Beyond this, it is a play about drowning: in love, in sorrow, in appetite. It is an intriguing statement about people... (The entire section contains 1610 words.)
  1. See in text (Act II - Scene V) A “sophy” was a Shah of Persia. Fabian uses this metaphor to hyperbolically assert that he delights in the trick they they are playing on Malvolio. It is similar to saying “I would not give this up for all the money in the world.”. Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff. Subscribe to unlock ».

  2. May 05, 2015 · Drowning in Twelfth Night is nearly always a metaphor for loss, usually a loss of perspective through submersion in excess. The theme is seen in the first speech of the play, as Orsino asks to be...

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  4. Twelfth Night: Examining the Text Shakespeare uses figurative language as he speaks with metaphors, similes, and personification. Recognizing when his characters are speaking figuratively helps in understanding the play. A metaphor is the application of a word or phrase to somebody or something that is not meant literally but to make a comparison.

  5. William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy written for the Elizabethan stage. The full title is Twelfth Night, or What You Will. Shakespeare wrote the play in the festive spirit of the Twelfth Night of the Christmas season, January 6, as part of events celebrating the holiday season.

    • Composition
    • Early Performances
    • Genre
    • Structure of Twelfth Night
    • Major Characters

    A Funny Play

    I first studied Twelfth Night in high school, at a time of life when I dreamed deliciously over the romance and collapsed into helpless giggles at the comedy. Though many years have passed since then, I know that I still haven’t penetrated the play’s depths of meaning. However, in the hope of further understanding, I’ve treasured the Oxford student edition (1959) that we used as teenagers. The editor, George H. Cowling, explains Twelfth Night’s unique appeal: [Shakespeare] did not merely scof...


    Michael Dobson describes Illyria as: “this self-indulgent lover’s territory” (Introduction xxii). He points out: “we find ourselves in Illyria at the outset, and we stay there…the world beyond comes to us as nothing more substantial than a succession of rumours” (xxiii); and that for both Viola and Sebastian “getting washed up on Illyria may turn out to be rather like dying and going to heaven” (xxiv). “Illyria is a sunlit never-never land of love and poetry, outside the ordinary historical t...

    The first documented performance of Twelfth Nightwas on 2 February 1602, at Candlemas, the Church’s feast celebrating the baby Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple. Shakespeare’s company, the Chamberlain’s Men, performed the comedy before an audience of law students and lawyers in the Middle Temple Hall, one of the Inns of Court (law colleges) in cent...

    A. Festive Comedy

    In Christian Europe, Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany are winter solstice festivals corresponding with the ancient Roman festival of the Saturnalia, “a period of general festivity, licence for slaves, giving of presents, and lighting of candles” (Oxford Companion to Classical Literature). The Saturnalia, which takes its name from the Italian agricultural deity, Saturn (Greek Chronos), celebrated the sowing of crops in preparation for spring. Both the pagan and the Christian festivals c...


    Investigate Salingar’s reference to “a mock exorcism in the manner of the Feast of Fools.” (See M. M. Manhood’s Introduction to the earlierPenguin edition of Twelfth Night (London: Penguin 1968)p. 14. For an exhaustive account of the Feast of Fools, see E. K. Chambers, The Medieval Stage. Vol. I, Chapters XIII, XIV and XV. London, 1903, often reprinted). 1. Where does the exorcism occur in Twelfth Night? Who is the exorcist, and who or what does he cast out? 2. Find examples of drinking, feas...

    B. An Elegy: Gentle Melancholy

    On the other hand, mainly through Feste, whose songs delight his on-stage as much as his off-stage audiences, Twelfth Nightoversees the disorderly fun and “misrule” from a sweetly melancholic perspective which reminds us that youthful love and merriment are fleeting. The context that Feste’s songs provide makes the music and dancing, feasting and romance, gender-bending and reversals of hierarchy seem all the more precious by contrast. For Shakespeare’s early audiences, twelfth night was not...

    The play’s action consists of changes and reversals that discourage analysis and demand that the audience fly with the unexpected. In the lunatic, lyrical world of Illyria, citizens and visitors alike are driven by the festive spirit, disordered loves and hates, and zany eccentricities. The unlikely plot is part of the play’s appeal: the complicate...

    When the wretched Malvolio is confined in the dark room for the insane, he ought to be joined there by Orsino, Olivia, Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Maria, Sebastian, Antonio, and even Viola, for the whole ninefold are at least borderline insane in their behaviour. (Bloom 226) The flowing structure of Twelfth Nightarises from the characters...

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