Twelfth Night, or What You Will – William Shakespeare | A Review

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I’m a big fan of Shakespeare – especially his comedies. True, I have to read the No Fear modern texts or helpful translations on Sparknotes.com so I’ll know what’s going on, but that doesn’t stop me. I’ve only been reading Shakespeare for about a year, and I’ve had to get used to how the characters all talk.

Twelfth Night is really good. Most of the ideas behind the Bard’s plays are extraordinary, this one being no exception. The characters go about scheming in such an intelligent and thought-out manner. I love it! Especially when their plotting involves romance; it’s hilarious.

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characters:

  • Viola
  • Olivia
  • Orsino
  • Maria
  • Sir Toby Belch (wow, what a last name!)
  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek
  • Malvolio
  • Feste the Fool
  • Fabian
  • Orsino

plot:

Orsino loves Olivia, but she’s too busy looking at Cesario. Cesario (Viola in disguise) loves Orsino, but he won’t consider knowing her romantically because he thinks she’s a man. Who will ultimately break up this love triangle? Will there ever be an end to the heartbreak?

“This comedy devises a romantic plot around separated twins, misplaced passions, and mistaken identity.” – Goodreads

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favorite quotes:

There were so many good lines in this play, but I’ll narrow it down to two…

“If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.” – Fabian, 3.4.136-37

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” – Malvolio, 2.5.149-50

Why Did I Read It?

Assigned reading. But even if it hadn’t been, I’m always up for reading one of Shakespeare’s plays, Twelfth Night included. 🙂

What I Liked:

All of it! Well, if you want the specifics…

  • How involved Feste the Fool was with the plot. Usually, fools are minor characters, but Feste had quite a few lines, making him a main character, since the play is so short.
  • How, in yet another play, Shakespeare disguises a woman as a man. I love how everyone gets so confused and rather agitated at times.
  • How everyone (including Olivia) responds to Malvolio’s attempt at wooing Olivia. As the reader, I felt bad for him, but I was also laughing in his face at the absurdity of the lengths he went to, trying to please her.

What I Didn’t Like:

Nothing! I’m not the biggest critic around, but I still notice flaws in stories and plays. In Twelfth Night, however, I found nothing to dislike…well, aside from everyone thinking Malvolio’s crazy, because I felt bad for him. Oh, what a guy wouldn’t do for the woman he loves!

Do I Recommend It?

Yes! If you like reading plays, especially Shakespeare, this one won’t disappoint you. It’s witty and a quick read. If you’ve never read Shakespeare, Twelfth Night wouldn’t be a bad one to start with; not too long or short. If you haven’t read it in a while, I recommend picking it up again, whether you buy it online, at a bookstore, or check it out from a library (like I did!).

-~- Maggie

Read: 5/10/16 – 5/23/16


Check this book out:

Amazon

Goodreads

Sparknotes

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