Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night. William Shakespeare. 1601-02. 272 pages.

If music be the food of love, play on;

I recently treated myself to a reread of Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night. Now Twelfth Night is not one of my favorite, favorite Shakespeare comedies. (That would be Much Ado About Nothing followed by A Midsummer Night's Dream.) But it is one I have read several times before. And it does have some GREAT scenes in it. (It is also the only Shakespeare I've seen performed on stage.)

Viola and Sebastian are brother and sister. Each think the other has perished in the shipwreck. Viola arrives in Illyria and decides to disguise herself as a young man taking the name Cesario. She enters the service of the Duke (Orsino). One of her tasks is to woo a young woman still in mourning, Olivia. Cesario delivers Orsino's messages just as he asks, but her heart isn't exactly in it. For she has fallen for the Duke herself, a matter only complicated by the fact that Olivia has fallen in love with her. Not that Olivia knows she's fallen in love with a woman-in-disguise. (I'm reminded of a Dorothy Sayers quote!!!) But still. Meanwhile, the audience becomes aware that Sebastian is very much alive and is also in Illyria. He has become friends with Antonio. That covers the "romance" of the play. (I'll leave it up to you to decide if it's truly-truly romance.) The comedy, for the most part, focuses on a cast of side characters mostly attached to Olivia's household. These include Malvolio, Maria, Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Feste. Essentially, a group of people team up to make a big, big fool of Malvolio.

Read Twelfth Night
  • If you enjoy a light blend of romance and comedy; the language is very beautiful in places--love the opening line!!! And some of the scenes are just very funny! 
  • If you're a fan of William Shakespeare
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Unknown said...

Hi Becky,
I haven't heard from you in a long while. Are you getting my emails? Please let me know. Looks like you're still reviewing lots of books. Yay!

Sherry said...

I know I'm strange, but I always felt sorry for Malvolio.

Becky said...

Well, yes, he was picked on, and those bullying him did do it in a really, truly mean way. And I'm not sure he deserved it exactly. I mean even if it was done in rivalry. But I couldn't help laughing when I saw it performed live either.

Amy said...

I just read this with a group. It's quite the gender bender, isn't it? And we all agreed that Malvolio didn't deserve what he got.