Set in Illyria, Twelfth Night is a comedy by William Shakespeare that revolves around love and mistaken identity. The name, “Twelfth Night” is usually considered to be a reference to the twelfth night of the Christmas celebration. In Shakespeare’s day, this holiday was celebrated as a festival in which everything was turned upside down—much like the upside-down, chaotic world of Illyria in the play. “Twelfth Night is about illusion, deception, disguises, madness, and the extraordinary things that love will cause [people] to do—and to see” (SparkNotes, 2010).
Simply put, the play revolves around the confusing and impossible love triangle of Orsino – Duke of Illyria, Lady Olivia, and Viola, a young woman who ends up shipwrecked on Illyria, and disguises herself as a man, and calls herself Cesario. Orsino loves Olivia, who loves Cesario, who loves Orsino. Viola has a twin brother, who she believes drowned in the shipwreck, but he is actually alive.
Interlinked with the main plot of the play, and just as important to the comedy is that subplot involving members of Olivia’s household (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. – “Twelfth Night”, 2010). There is Olivia’s rowdy drunkard uncle, Sir Toby, his foolish friend, Sir Andrew – who, on Sir Toby’s advice is hopelessly trying to court Olivia. There is also Olivia’s witty servant, Maria, the resident fool (or jester), Feste, and last but not least, Malvolio, the hypocritical head-servant of the household. Malvolio is a Puritan, yet a self-righteous character who seems to enjoy spoiling others’ fun.
After Malvolio tells them off, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Maria and Feste decide to play a prank on Malvolio, leading him to believe that Olivia is in love with him. He is instructed to do a number of silly things to show his love to Olivia, which he does. The pranksters then lead Olivia to believe that Malvolio... [continues]
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(2011, 01). How Would an Actor Prepare for the Role of Malvolio in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Focusing on Language and Movement?. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 01, 2011, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/How-Would-An-Actor-Prepare-For-539284.html
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"How Would an Actor Prepare for the Role of Malvolio in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Focusing on Language and Movement?." StudyMode.com. 01, 2011. Accessed 01, 2011. http://www.studymode.com/essays/How-Would-An-Actor-Prepare-For-539284.html.