William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

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William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. Shakespeare’s plays and poetry have been translated into every language and have been performed all over the world. Shakespeare’s plays have remained at the center of the theatrical repertoire through periods of changing dramatic tastes and they have adapted themselves to different culture and theatrical traditions. William Shakespeare was born in 1564. Shakespeare wrote “Twelfth Night” around the middle of his career, probably in the year 1601. It was first published in the first Folio in 1623, where it is placed next to the last of the comedies. Most critics consider …show more content…
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. Shakespeare entered this artistic phase (dark comedies). “Twelve Night” reveals the beginning of this dissatisfaction. “Twelve Night” was performed at the Inns of Court. (Norton 370) There was no indication that Shakespeare wrote “Twelve Night,” or any of his plays for special court reasons. “Twelve Night” is based on barnabe riches story of Apollonius and silla (1581) but none of these settings has any considerable realism of local color. Hazlitt described the setting of Shakespeare’s comedy as being of a pastoral and poetical cast. Producers were driven to a decision by the necessity of scenery and costume of Venice, which ruled the Adriatic isles. (Mowat, 11) The Illyria of Shakespeare’s day was of course, essentially Slavic in its population, mores and native character, though its nobility might show some gloss of Italian and perhaps Hungarian or Germanic cultures. Shakespeare knowledge of the Slavs was apparently almost nil and his audience was equally ignorant. …show more content…
The play starts off with the shipwreck and explains how two twins, Viola and Sebastian get separated. Viola gets swept up on land and doesn’t know where she is. She is told by a captain that she is in Illyria. Viola asks herself, “What should I do in Illyria?” Her brother is in Elysium and she thinks he might be dead. The captain tells her about the Duke Orsino and how he loves a woman named Olivia, and he is very sad because Olivia is not interested. Olivia is mourning over her dead father and brother. Viola wants to serve the duke, but in order to do that she has to dress up like a man to get the job. She pretends to be a man named Cesario. She gets the job and her and Orsino become good friends, and the Duke tells Cesario how he loves Olivia. But, Viola (who is playing Cesario) has a crush on the

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