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Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Twelfth Night, or What You Will Analysis

Literary Devices in Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Somebody forgot to tell the characters in Twelfth Night that it's rude to pass notes in class. Yes, we're aware this joke may not hold the same meaning for you as it does for those of us who experi...

Setting

Twelfth Night is set in the imaginary Dukedom of Illyria. Illyria happens to correspond to a place on the Adriatic coast, a place most Elizabethans knew nothing about and where most Londoners had n...

Genre

Twelfth Night fits rather snuggly into the generic category of Shakespearean "Comedy." But what the heck does that mean anyway? That it's funny? Something else? Well, the play is pretty hilarious,...

Tone

Festive, dark, you name it. Like the moody Duke Orsino (who you can read all about in our analysis of "Characters"), this play fluctuates between highs and lows in a matter of seconds. We're not co...

Writing Style

Critics like to say that Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's most poetical and musical plays. What the heck does that mean? Well, it means that Big Willy puts some gorgeous lines in the mouths of...

What's Up with the Title?

You might have guessed that Twelfth Night, or What You Will (William Shakespeare's only play with an alternate title) has something to do with the popular song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Twelf...

What's Up with the Ending?

Remember when we said Twelfth Night (all Shakespeare comedies, really) works toward a "tidy" ending where social order is restored and couples are paired off into heterosexual twosies so they can m...

Tough-o-Meter

We're not going to lie, getting the hang of Elizabethan language can be a little rough at first. Here's the deal: once you get comfortable with Shakespeare's voice, you see that Twelfth Night is co...

Plot Analysis

Viola survives a shipwreck and disguises herself as "Cesario."When Viola arrives on the shores of Illyria after her ship sinks and she is separated from her twin brother (Sebastian), she decides to...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Viola's separated from her brother during a shipwreck; Orsino pursues Olivia; Olivia mourns the death of her brotherViola survives a dramatic ship wreck (off-stage) and doesn't know if her twin bro...

Three Act Plot Analysis

After surviving a shipwreck and being separated from her twin brother (Sebastian), Viola arrives in Illyria, where she dresses up as a boy named "Cesario" and becomes Duke Orsino's page. Her first...

Trivia

Shakespeare fathered twins, Judith and Hamnet (who died at age 11). This may have fueled his interest in twinning, in plays like Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors. (Source)All Shook Up, a "juk...

Steaminess Rating

Don't get too excited about our "R" rating. There's no sex on stage. That said, there are plenty of provocative moments. (We cover many of these in our discussion of important "Quotes" for the them...

Allusions

Barnaby Riche, "Apolonius and Silla" (1.4.7, 1.5.47)Emanuel Ford, Parismus, (1.4.5, 1.5.47) Accademia degli Intronati, Gl' Ingannati(The Deceived Ones) (1.2.4, 2.2.1)Niccolò Secchio, Gl' Ingan...

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