Wednesday, January 15, 2020

10. Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night. William Shakespeare. 1601. 272 pages. [Source: Bought][Shakespeare play; Classic]

First sentence: If music be the food of love, play on;

 Premise/plot: Twins (Sebastian and Viola) are shipwrecked and separated. Adventures and misadventures await the pair in the coming weeks. Viola dresses as a man and takes a job in the service of Duke Orsino. Orsino is truly, madly, deeply in love with a woman, Olivia, who is mourning the death of her brother. Viola becomes his messenger--delivering his unwanted love letters. Olivia thinks that Viola is better than a letter. Sebastian, meanwhile, finds a few buddies to hang out with. As with all Shakespeare plays, this one has a few fools in it--not all fools are foolish though, mind you. Sometimes the fools have more common sense than all the main characters combined. For example,
CLOWN. Good madonna, why mourn'st thou?
OLIVIA. Good fool, for my brother's death.
CLOWN. I think his soul is in hell, madonna.
OLIVIA. I know his soul is in heaven, fool.
CLOWN. The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother's soul being in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen.
My thoughts: I always take this play for granted. It doesn't leap out at me as being MY FAVORITE. (The one that does leap out is MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.) But Twelfth Night is a pleasant--more than pleasant--diversion for a winter's night. It is a comedy with some GREAT lines. I absolutely LOVE and ADORE the first line, "If music be the food of love, play on." That may just be one of my favorite Shakespeare lines ever.

Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Virtue that transgresses is but patch'd with sin; and sin that amends is but patch'd with virtue.
  • If you be not mad, be gone; if you have reason, be brief. 
  • Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon'em. 
  • Words are grown so false, I am loth to prove reason with them.
  • Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun, it shines everywhere.
© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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