The Info List - Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night, or What You Will[notes 1] is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–02 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play centres on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who is disguised as Cesario) falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with the Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man. The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the occasion,[1] with plot elements drawn from the short story "Of Apollonius and Silla" by Barnabe Rich, based on a story by Matteo Bandello. The first recorded performance was on 2 February 1602, at Candlemas, the formal end of Christmastide
in the year's calendar. The play was not published until its inclusion in the 1623 First Folio.


1 Characters 2 Setting 3 Synopsis 4 Sources 5 Date and text 6 Themes

6.1 Gender 6.2 Metatheatre

7 Performance history

7.1 During and just after Shakespeare's lifetime 7.2 Restoration to 20th century 7.3 20th and 21st century

8 Adaptations

8.1 Stage 8.2 Film 8.3 Television 8.4 Radio 8.5 Music

9 Influence 10 Notes 11 References 12 External links


Scene from Twelfth Night, by Francis Wheatley (1771–72)

Viola - a shipwrecked young woman who disguises herself as "Cesario" Sebastian – Viola's twin brother Duke Orsino – Duke of Illyria Olivia – a wealthy countess Malvolio
– steward in Olivia's household Maria – Olivia's gentlewoman Sir Toby Belch
Sir Toby Belch
– Olivia's uncle Sir Andrew Aguecheek
Andrew Aguecheek
– friend of Sir Toby Feste
– Olivia's servant, a jester Fabian – a servant in Olivia household Antonio – a sea captain and friend to Sebastian Valentine and Curio – gentlemen attending on the Duke A Servant of Olivia A Sea Captain – friend to Viola

Setting[edit] Illyria, the setting of Twelfth Night, is important to the play's romantic atmosphere. Illyria
was an ancient region of the Western Balkans whose coast (the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea which is the only part of ancient Illyria
which is relevant to the play) covered (from north to south) the coasts of modern-day Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro
and Albania. It included the city-state of the Republic of Ragusa
Republic of Ragusa
which has been proposed as the setting.[2] Illyria
may have been suggested by the Roman comedy Menaechmi, the plot of which also involves twins who are mistaken for each other. Illyria
is also referred to as a site of pirates in Shakespeare's earlier play, Henry VI, Part 2. The names of most of the characters are Italian but some of the comic characters have English names. Oddly, the "Illyrian" lady Olivia has an English uncle, Sir Toby Belch. It has been noted that the play's setting also has other English allusions such as Viola's use of "Westward ho!", a typical cry of 16th-century London boatmen, and also Antonio's recommendation to Sebastian of "The Elephant" as where it is best to lodge in Illyria; The Elephant was a pub not far from the Globe Theatre.[3] Synopsis[edit] Viola is shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria
and she comes ashore with the help of a Captain. She has lost contact with her twin brother, Sebastian, who she believes to be drowned. With the aid of the Captain, she disguises herself as a young man under the name Cesario, and enters the service of Duke Orsino. Duke Orsino has convinced himself that he is in love with Olivia, who is mourning the recent deaths of her father and brother. She refuses to see entertainments, be in the company of men, or accept love or marriage proposals from anyone, the Duke included, until seven years have passed. Duke Orsino then uses 'Cesario' as an intermediary to profess his passionate love before Olivia. Olivia, however, falls in love with 'Cesario', setting her at odds with her professed duty. In the meantime, Viola has fallen in love with the Duke Orsino, creating a love triangle among Duke Orsino, Olivia and Viola: Viola loves Duke Orsino, Duke Orsino loves Olivia, and Olivia loves Viola disguised as Cesario.

A depiction of Olivia by Edmund Leighton
Edmund Leighton
from The Graphic Gallery of Shakespeare's Heroines

In the comic subplot, several characters conspire to make Olivia's pompous steward, Malvolio, believe that Olivia has fallen for him. This involves Olivia's riotous uncle, Sir Toby Belch; another would-be suitor, a silly squire named Sir Andrew Aguecheek; her servants Maria and Fabian; and her melancholy fool, Feste. Sir Toby and Sir Andrew engage themselves in drinking and revelry, thus disturbing the peace of Olivia's household until late into the night, prompting Malvolio
to chastise them. Sir Toby famously retorts, "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?" (Act II, Scene III). Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria plan revenge on Malvolio. They convince Malvolio
that Olivia is secretly in love with him by planting a love letter, written by Maria in Olivia's handwriting. It asks Malvolio
to wear yellow stockings cross-gartered, to be rude to the rest of the servants, and to smile constantly in the presence of Olivia. Malvolio
finds the letter and reacts in surprised delight. He starts acting out the contents of the letter to show Olivia his positive response. Olivia is shocked by the changes in Malvolio
and leaves him to the contrivances of his tormentors. Pretending that Malvolio
is insane, they lock him up in a dark chamber. Feste
visits him to mock his insanity, both disguised as a priest and as himself. Meanwhile, Viola's twin, Sebastian, has been rescued by Antonio, a sea captain who previously fought against Orsino yet who accompanies Sebastian to Illyria, despite the danger, because of their friendship. Sebastian's appearance adds the confusion of mistaken identities to the comedy. Taking Sebastian for 'Cesario', Olivia asks him to marry her, and they are secretly married in a church. Finally, when 'Cesario' and Sebastian appear in the presence of both Olivia and Orsino, there is more wonder and confusion at their physical similarity. At this point, Viola reveals her identity and is reunited with her twin brother. The play ends in a declaration of marriage between Duke Orsino and Viola, and it is learned that Sir Toby has married Maria. Malvolio
swears revenge on his tormentors and stalks off, but Orsino sends Fabian to placate him. Sources[edit] The play is believed to have drawn extensively on the Italian production Gl'ingannati
(or The Deceived Ones),[4] collectively written by the Accademia degli Intronati in 1531. It is conjectured that the name of its male lead, Orsino, was suggested by Virginio Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, an Italian nobleman who visited London in the winter of 1600 to 1601.[5] Another source story, "Of Apollonius and Silla", appeared in Barnabe Riche's collection, Riche his Farewell to Militarie Profession conteining verie pleasaunt discourses fit for a peaceable tyme (1581), which in turn is derived from a story by Matteo Bandello.[6]

Sir Toby Belch
Sir Toby Belch
coming to the assistance of Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Arthur Boyd Houghton, c. 1854.

"Twelfth Night" is a reference to the twelfth night after Christmas Day, called the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany. It was originally a Catholic holiday and therefore, like other Christian feast days, an occasion for revelry. Servants often dressed up as their masters, men as women and so forth. This history of festive ritual and Carnivalesque reversal, based on the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia at the same time of year (characterized by drunken revelry and inversion of the social order; masters became slaves for a day, and vice versa), is the cultural origin of the play's gender confusion-driven plot. The actual Elizabethan festival of Twelfth Night would involve the antics of a Lord of Misrule, who before leaving his temporary position of authority, would call for entertainment, songs and mummery; the play has been regarded as preserving this festive and traditional atmosphere of licensed disorder.[7] This leads to the general inversion of the order of things, most notably gender roles.[8] The embittered and isolated Malvolio
can be regarded as an adversary of festive enjoyment and community,[9] led by Sir Toby Belch, "the vice-regent spokesman for cakes and ale" and his partner in a comic stock duo, the simple and constantly exploited Sir Andrew Aguecheek.[10] Date and text[edit]

The title page of Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
from the 1623 First Folio

The full title of the play is Twelfth Night, or What You Will. Subtitles for plays were fashionable in the Elizabethan era, and though some editors place The Merchant of Venice's alternative title, The Jew of Venice, as a subtitle, this is the only Shakespearean play to bear one when first published.[11] The play was probably finished between 1600 and 1601, a period suggested by the play's referencing of events which happened during that time. A law student, John Manningham, who was studying in the Middle Temple in London, described the performance on 2 February 1602 (Candlemas) which took place in the hall of the Middle Temple at the formal end of Christmastide
in the year's calendar, and to which students were invited.[12] This was the first recorded performance of the play. The play was not published until its inclusion in the First Folio in 1623. Themes[edit] Gender[edit] Viola is not alone among Shakespeare's cross-dressing heroines; in Shakespeare's theatre, convention dictated that adolescent boys play the roles of female characters, creating humour in the multiplicity of disguise found in a female character who for a while pretended at masculinity.[11] Her cross dressing enables Viola to fulfill usually male roles, such as acting as a messenger between Orsino and Olivia, as well as being Orsino's confidant. She does not, however, use her disguise to enable her to intervene directly in the plot (unlike other Shakespearean heroines such as Rosalind in As You Like It
As You Like It
and Portia in The Merchant of Venice), remaining someone who allows "Time" to untangle the plot.[13] Viola's persistence in transvestism through her betrothal in the final scene of the play often engenders a discussion of the possibly homoerotic relationship between Viola and Orsino. As the very nature of Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
explores gender identity and sexual attraction, having a male actor play Viola enhanced the impression of androgyny and sexual ambiguity.[14] Some modern scholars believe that Twelfth Night, with the added confusion of male actors and Viola's deception, addresses gender issues "with particular immediacy."[15] They also accept that the depiction of gender in Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
stems from the era's prevalent scientific theory that females are simply imperfect males.[14] This belief explains the almost indistinguishable differences between the sexes reflected in the casting and characters of Twelfth Night. Metatheatre[edit] At Olivia's first meeting with "Cesario" (Viola) in I.V she asks her "Are you a comedian?" (an Elizabethan term for "actor").[16] Viola's reply, "I am not that I play", epitomising her adoption of the role of Cesario, is regarded as one of several references to theatricality and "playing" within the play.[17] The plot against Malvolio
revolves around these ideas, and Fabian remarks in Act III, Scene iv: "If this were play'd upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction".[18] In Act IV, Scene ii, Feste
(The Fool) plays both parts in the "play" for Malvolio's benefit, alternating between adopting the voice of the local curate, Sir Topas, and his own voice. He finishes by likening himself to "the old Vice" of English Morality plays.[19] Other influences of the English folk tradition can be seen in Feste's songs and dialogue, such as his final song in Act V.[20] The last line of this song, "And we'll strive to please you every day", is a direct echo of similar lines from several English folk plays.[21] Performance history[edit] During and just after Shakespeare's lifetime[edit] The earliest known performance took place at Middle Temple Hall, one of the Inns of Court, on Candlemas
night, 2 February 1602. The only record of the performance is an entry in the diary of the lawyer John Manningham, who wrote:

At our feast we had a play called "Twelve Night, or What You Will", much like "The Comedy of Errors" or "Menaechmi" in Plautus, but most like and near to that in Italian called "Inganni". A good practice in it to make the steward believe his lady-widow was in love with him, by counterfeiting a letter as from his lady, in general terms telling him what she liked best in him and prescribing his gesture in smiling, his apparel, etc. and then, when he came to practice, making him believe they took him for mad.[22]

Clearly, Manningham enjoyed the Malvolio
story most of all, and noted the play's similarity with Shakespeare's earlier play, as well as its relationship with one of its sources, the Inganni plays. It may have been performed earlier as well, before the Court at Whitehall Palace
Whitehall Palace
on Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
(6 January) of 1601.[23] Twelfth Night was also performed at Court on Easter Monday, 6 April 1618, and again at Candlemas
in 1623. Restoration to 20th century[edit]

A Scene from Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
by William Shakespeare: Act V, Scene i (William Hamilton, c. 1797).

The play was also one of the earliest Shakespearean works acted at the start of the Restoration; Sir William Davenant's adaptation was staged in 1661, with Thomas Betterton
Thomas Betterton
in the role of Sir Toby Belch. Samuel Pepys thought it "a silly play", but saw it three times anyway during the period of his diary on 11 September 1661, 6 January 1663, and 20 January 1669. Another adaptation, Love Betray'd, or, The Agreeable Disappointment, was acted at Lincoln's Inn Fields
Lincoln's Inn Fields
in 1703.[5] After holding the stage only in the adaptations in the late 17th century and early 18th century, the original Shakespearean text of Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
was revived in 1741, in a production at Drury Lane. In 1820 an operatic version by Frederic Reynolds
Frederic Reynolds
was staged, with music composed by Henry Bishop. 20th and 21st century[edit] Influential productions were staged in 1912, by Harley Granville-Barker, and in 1916, at the Old Vic.

advertising performances of Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
by Yale University Dramatic Association, New Haven, Connecticut, 1921

Lilian Baylis
Lilian Baylis
reopened the long-dormant Sadler's Wells Theatre
Sadler's Wells Theatre
in 1931 with a notable production of the play starring Ralph Richardson
Ralph Richardson
as Sir Toby and John Gielgud
John Gielgud
as Malvolio. The Old Vic
Old Vic
Theatre was reopened in 1950 (after suffering severe damage in the London Blitz in 1941) with a memorable production starring Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
as Viola. Gielgud directed a production at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre
with Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
as Malvolio
and Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh
playing both Viola and Sebastian in 1955. The longest running Broadway production by far was Margaret Webster's 1940 staging starring Maurice Evans as Malvolio
and Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes
as Viola. It ran for 129 performances, more than twice as long as any other Broadway production. A memorable production directed by Liviu Ciulei at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, October–November 1984, was set in the context of an archetypal circus world, emphasising its convivial, carnival tone.[24] When the play was first performed, all female parts were played by men or boys, but it has been the practice for some centuries now to cast women or girls in the female parts in all plays. The company of Shakespeare's Globe, London, has produced many notable, highly popular all-male performances, and a highlight of their 2002 season was Twelfth Night, with the Globe's artistic director Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
playing the part of Olivia. This season was preceded, in February, by a performance of the play by the same company at Middle Temple Hall, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the play's première, at the same venue. The same production was revived in 2012-13 and transferred to sell-out runs in the West End and Broadway. Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
played Malvolio. It ran in repertory with Richard III. Interpretations of the role of Viola have been given by many well-renowned actresses in the latter half of the 20th century, and have been interpreted in the light of how far they allow the audience to experience the transgressions of stereotypical gender roles.[25] This has sometimes correlated with how far productions of the play go towards reaffirming a sense of unification, for example a 1947 production concentrated on showing a post-World War II community reuniting at the end of the play, led by a robust hero/heroine in Viola, played by Beatrix Lehmann, then 44 years old.[26] The 1966 Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
production played on gender transgressions more obviously, with Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg
as Viola showing much more physical attraction towards the duke than previously seen, and the court in general being a more physically demonstrative place, particularly between males.[27] John Barton's 1969 production starred Donald Sinden as Malvolio
and Judi Dench
Judi Dench
as Viola; their performances were highly acclaimed and the production as a whole was commented on as showing a dying society crumbling into decay.[28] Malvolio
is a popular character choice among stage actors; others who have taken the part include Ian Holm
Ian Holm
many times, Simon Russell Beale (Donmar Warehouse, 2002), Richard Cordery in 2005, Patrick Stewart, in Chichester, in 2007, Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
(Donmar Warehouse) in 2009, Richard Wilson in 2009[29] and Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
at the Globe in 2012.[30] In March 2017, the Royal National Theatre's production of Twelfth Night [31] changed some of the roles from male to female, including Feste, Fabian (which became Fabia), and most notably, Malvolio
- which became Malvolia - played by Tamsin Greig
Tamsin Greig
to largely positive reviews.[32][33][34][35] As a result, the production played with sexuality as well as gender. In 2017/18, the Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
staged Twelfth Night, which was directed by Christopher Luscombe. Adrian Edmondson
Adrian Edmondson
played Malvolio and Kara Tointon
Kara Tointon
played Olivia.[36] Adaptations[edit] Stage[edit] Due to its themes such as young women seeking independence in a "man's world", "gender-bending" and "same-sex attraction" (albeit in a roundabout way),[37] there have been a number of re-workings for the stage, particularly in musical theatre, among them Your Own Thing (1968), Music Is
Music Is
(1977), All Shook Up (2005), and Play On!
Play On!
(1997), the last two jukebox musicals featuring the music of Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
and Duke Ellington, respectively. Another adaptation is Illyria, by composer Pete Mills. Theatre Grottesco created a modern version of the play from the point of view of the servants working for Duke Orsino and Lady Olivia. The adaptation takes a much deeper look at the issues of classism, and society without leadership. In 1999, the play was adapted as Epiphany by the Takarazuka Revue, adding more overt commentary on the role of theatre and actors, as well as gender as applied to the stage (made more layered by the fact that all roles in this production were played by women).[38] Film[edit] See also: Shakespeare
on screen § Twelfth Night In 1910, Vitagraph Studios
Vitagraph Studios
released the silent, short adaptation Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
starring actors Florence Turner, Julia Swayne Gordon
Julia Swayne Gordon
and Marin Sais. There was a 1986 Australian film. The 1996 film adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and set in the 19th century, stars Imogen Stubbs as Viola, Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter
as Olivia and Toby Stephens
Toby Stephens
as Duke Orsino. The film also features Mel Smith
Mel Smith
as Sir Toby, Richard E. Grant
Richard E. Grant
as Sir Andrew, Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley
as Feste, Imelda Staunton
Imelda Staunton
as Maria and Nigel Hawthorne as Malvolio. Much of the comic material was downplayed into straightforward drama, and the film received some criticism for this.[39] The 2001 "Disney Channel Original Movie" "Motocrossed" sets the story in the world of motocross racing. In the 2004 movie Wicker Park, Rose Byrne's character Alex plays Viola in an amateur production of Twelfth Night. The 2006 film She's the Man
She's the Man
modernises the story as a contemporary teenage comedy (as 10 Things I Hate About You
10 Things I Hate About You
did with The Taming of the Shrew). It is set in a prep school named Illyria
and incorporates the names of the play's major characters. For example, Orsino, Duke of Illyria
becomes simply Duke Orsino ("Duke" being his forename). The story was changed to revolve around the idea of soccer rivalry but the twisted character romance remained the same as the original. Viola, the main character, pretends to be her brother Sebastian, and a girl named Olivia falls in love with Viola as Sebastian. She also goes to a restaurant named "Cesario's". Two of Duke's Illyria
soccer teammates are named Andrew and Toby. A nod is given to the omitted subplot by naming a briefly-onscreen tarantula Malvolio. Sebastian’s ex-girlfriend Monique was given the surname Valentine, and the meddling Malcolm was given the surname Festes. Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love
contains several references to Twelfth Night. Near the end of the movie, Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I
(Judi Dench) asks Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) to write a comedy for the Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
holiday. Shakespeare's love interest in the film, "Viola" (Gwyneth Paltrow), is the daughter of a wealthy merchant who disguises herself as a boy to become an actor; while Shakespeare, a financially struggling playwright suffering from writer's block is trying to write Romeo and Juliet. She is presented in the final scene of the film as William Shakespeare's "true" inspiration for the heroine of Twelfth Night. In a nod to the shipwrecked opening of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, the movie includes a scene where the character Viola, separated from her love by an arranged marriage and bound for the American colonies, survives a shipwreck and comes ashore to Virginia. Television[edit] On 14 May 1937, the BBC
Television Service in London broadcast a thirty-minute excerpt of the play, the first known instance of a work of Shakespeare
being performed on television. Produced for the new medium by George More O'Ferrall, the production is also notable for having featured a young actress who would later go on to win an Academy Award
Academy Award
– Greer Garson. As the performance was transmitted live from the BBC's studios at Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Palace
and the technology to record television programmes did not at the time exist, no visual record survives other than still photographs.[40] The entire play was produced for television in 1939, directed by Michel Saint-Denis and starring another future Oscar-winner, Peggy Ashcroft. The part of Sir Toby Belch
Sir Toby Belch
was taken by a young George Devine. In 1957, another adaptation of the play was presented by NBC
on U.S. television's Hallmark Hall of Fame, with Maurice Evans recreating his performance as Malvolio. This was the first color version ever produced on TV. Dennis King, Rosemary Harris, and Frances Hyland co-starred. In 1966 there was an Australian TV version. Another version for UK television was produced in 1969, directed by John Sichel and John Dexter. The production featured Joan Plowright
Joan Plowright
as Viola and Sebastian, Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
as Malvolio, Ralph Richardson
Ralph Richardson
as Sir Toby Belch
Sir Toby Belch
and Tommy Steele
Tommy Steele
as an unusually prominent Feste. Yet another TV adaptation followed in 1980. This version was part of the BBC Television Shakespeare
BBC Television Shakespeare
series and featured Felicity Kendal in the role of Viola, Sinéad Cusack as Olivia, Alec McCowen
Alec McCowen
as Malvolio and Robert Hardy
Robert Hardy
as Sir Toby Belch. In 1988, Kenneth Branagh's stage production of the play, starring Frances Barber as Viola and Richard Briers
Richard Briers
as Malvolio, was adapted for Thames Television. In 1998 the Lincoln Center Theater
Lincoln Center Theater
production directed by Nicholas Hytner was broadcast on PBS Live From Lincoln Center. It starred Helen Hunt as Viola, Paul Rudd
Paul Rudd
as Orsino, Kyra Sedgwick
Kyra Sedgwick
as Olivia, Philip Bosco as Malvolio, Brian Murray as Sir Toby, Max Wright as Sir Andrew, and David Patrick Kelly as Feste. A 2003 telemovie adapted and directed by Tim Supple is set in the present day. It features David Troughton as Sir Toby, and is notable for its multi-ethnic cast including Parminder Nagra
Parminder Nagra
as Viola and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor
as Orsino. Its portrayal of Viola and Sebastian's arrival in Illyria
is reminiscent of news footage of asylum seekers. An episode of the British series Skins, entitled Grace, featured the main characters playing Twelfth Night, with a love triangle between Franky, Liv and Matty, who respectively played Viola, Olivia and Orsino. Radio[edit] An adaptation of Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
by Cathleen Nesbitt
Cathleen Nesbitt
for the BBC
was the first complete Shakespeare
play ever broadcast on British radio. This occurred on 28 May 1923, with Nesbitt as both Viola and Sebastian, and Gerald Lawrence as Orsino.[41] In 1937 an adaptation was performed on the CBS Radio Playhouse starring Orson Welles
Orson Welles
as Orsino and Tallulah Bankhead
Tallulah Bankhead
as Viola. A year later, Welles played Malvolio
in a production with his Mercury Theater Company. There have been several full adaptations on BBC
Radio. A 1982 BBC Radio 4 broadcast featured Alec McCowen
Alec McCowen
as Orsino, Wendy Murray as Viola, Norman Rodway as Sir Toby Belch, Andrew Sachs
Andrew Sachs
as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Bernard Hepton as Malvolio; in 1993, BBC
Radio 3 broadcast a version of the play (set on a Caribbean Island), with Michael Maloney
Michael Maloney
as Orsino, Eve Matheson as Viola, Iain Cuthbertson as Malvolio, and Joss Ackland as Sir Toby Belch; this adaptation was broadcast again on 6 January 2011 by BBC
Radio 7 (now Radio 4 Extra). 1998 saw another Radio 3 adaptation, with Michael Maloney, again as Orsino, Josette Simon as Olivia and Nicky Henson as Feste. In April 2012, BBC
Radio 3 broadcast a version directed by Sally Avens, with Paul Ready as Orsino, Naomi Frederick as Viola, David Tennant
David Tennant
as Malvolvio and Ron Cook as Sir Toby Belch. Music[edit] In 1888, Alexander Campbell Mackenzie
Alexander Campbell Mackenzie
composed an overture based on Twelfth Night. In 1942, Gerald Finzi set the songs "O Mistress Mine" (Act II, Scene 3) and "Come Away, Come Away, Death" (Act II, Scene 4) to music as part of his song cycle on Shakespearean texts Let Us Garlands Bring. Roger Quilter
Roger Quilter
set "O Mistress Mine" and "Come Away, Come Away, Death" in his Three Shakespeare
Songs, Op. 6. Swedish composer Sven-Eric Johanson's song cycle for mixed chorus and piano "Fancies I" includes a setting in waltz time of "O Mistress Mine" (1974). Influence[edit] The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
opens his book Philosophical Fragments with the quote "Better well hanged than ill wed" which is a paraphrase of Feste's comment to Maria in Act 1, Scene 5: "Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage". Nietzsche
also refers passingly to Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
(specifically, to Sir Andrew Aguecheek's suspicion, expressed in Act 1, Scene 3, that his excessive intake of beef is having an inverse effect on his wit) in the third essay of his Genealogy of Morality. The Kiddy Grade
Kiddy Grade
characters Viola and Cesario are named for Viola and her alter ego Cesario, respectively. Elizabeth Hand's novella Illyria
features a high school production of Twelfth Night, containing many references to the play, especially Feste's song. One of Club Penguin's plays, Twelfth Fish, is a spoof of Shakespeare's works. It is a story about a countess, a jester, and a bard who catch a fish that talks. As the play ends, they begin eating the fish. Many of the lines are parodies of Shakespeare. Agatha Christie's 1940 mystery novel Sad Cypress draws its title from a song in Act II, Scene IV of Twelfth Night. American playwright Ken Ludwig
Ken Ludwig
wrote a play inspired by the details of Twelfth Night, called Leading Ladies. Cassandra Clare's 2009 novel City of Glass contains chapter names inspired by quotations of Antonio and Sebastian. Two of the dogs in the film Hotel for Dogs
Hotel for Dogs
are twins called Sebastian and Viola. Clive Barker's short story "Sex, Death and Starshine" revolves around a doomed production of Twelfth Night. The Baker Street Irregulars
Baker Street Irregulars
believe Sherlock Holmes's birthday to be January 6 due to the fact that Holmes quotes twice from Twelfth Night whereas he quotes only once from other Shakespeare
plays. Notes[edit]

^ Use of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation in the First Folio: "Twelfe Night, Or what you will"


^ Thomson, Peter (1983). Shakespeare's Theatre. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 94. ISBN 0710094809. OCLC 9154553. Shakespeare, having tackled the theatrical problems of providing Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
with effective musical interludes, found his attitude toward his material changed. An episodic story became in his mind a thing of dreams and themes.  ^ Torbarina, Josip (June 1964). "The Settings of Shakespeare's Plays". Studia Romanica et Anglica Zagrabiensia (17–18): 21–59. ISSN 0039-3339. OCLC 760940009.  ^ Shakespeare, William (2004). Donno, Elizabeth Story, ed. Twelfth night, or, What you will (Updated ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 7. ISBN 9780521827928. OCLC 54824521.  ^ Caldecott, Henry Stratford (1896). Our English Homer, or, The Bacon- Shakespeare
Controversy: A Lecture. Johannesburg: Johannesburg Times. p. 9. OCLC 83492745.  ^ a b Halliday, F. E. (1964). A Shakespeare
Companion 1564–1964 (First ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin. pp. 71, 505. OCLC 69117982.  ^ Griffin, Alice (1966). The Sources of Ten Shakespearean Plays (First ed.). New York: T.Y. Crowell. OCLC 350534.  ^ Laroque, François. Shakespeare's Festive World: Elizabethan Seasonal Entertainment and the Professional Stage. Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 153. ^ Laroque, p. 227. ^ Laroque, p. 254. ^ Clayton, Thomas. " Shakespeare
at The Guthrie: Twelfth Night" in Shakespeare Quarterly 36.3 (Autumn 1985), p. 354. ^ a b Shakespeare, William; Stephen Greenblatt; Walter Cohen; Jean E. Howard; Katharine Eisaman Maus; Andrew Gurr (1997). The Norton Shakespeare
(First ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. pp. 40, 1090. ISBN 0-393-97087-6.  ^ Hobgood, Allison P. (Fall 2006). "Twelfth Night's "Notorious Abuse" of Malvolio: Shame, Humorality, and Early Modern Spectatorship" (PDF). Shakespeare
Bulletin. Retrieved 17 November 2012.  ^ Hodgdon, Barbara: "Sexual Disguise and the Theatre of Gender" in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Comedy, edited by Alexander Leggatt. Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 186. ^ a b Charles, Casey. "Gender Trouble in Twelfth Night." Theatre Journal. Vol. 49, No. 2 (1997): 121-141, p. 124. ^ Smith, Bruce R. "Introduction." Twelfth Night. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. ^ Lothian and Craik, p. 30. ^ Righter, Anne. Shakespeare
and the Idea of the Play. Chatto & Windus, 1962, p. 130. ^ Righter, p. 136. ^ Righter, p. 133. ^ Weimann, Robert. Shakespeare
and the Popular Tradition in the Theater: Studies in the Social Dimension of Dramatic Form and Function, page 41. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978. ^ Weimann, p. 43. ^ Shakespeare, William; Smith, Bruce R. (2001). Twelfth Night: Texts and Contexts. Boston: Bedford/St Martin's. p. 2. ISBN 0-312-20219-9.  ^ Hotson, Leslie (1954). The First Night of Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
(First ed.). New York: Macmillan. OCLC 353282.  ^ The production was extensively reviewed by Thomas Clayton, " Shakespeare
at The Guthrie: Twelfth Night" for Shakespeare
Quarterly 36.3 (Autumn 1985:353–359). ^ Gay, Penny. As She Likes It: Shakespeare's Unruly Heroines. London: Routledge, 1994, p. 15. ^ Gay, Penny: pp. 18-20. ^ Gay, Penny, p. 30. ^ Gay, Penny, p. 34. ^ Costa, Maddy (20 October 2009). " Malvolio
– the killjoy the stars love to play". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2012.  ^ Costa, Maddy (1 October 2012). "Stephen Fry's Twelfth Night: this all-male affair is no one-man show". The Guardian. Retrieved July 2, 2012.  ^ " Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
- National Theatre". www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.  ^ Clapp, Susannah (26 February 2017). " Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
review – on high gender alert with Tamsin Greig" – via The Guardian.  ^ Billington, Michael (23 February 2017). " Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
review – Tamsin Greig
Tamsin Greig
is brilliant in a show full of fun" – via The Guardian.  ^ "Twelfth Night, National's Olivier Theatre review: Tamsin Greig shines in a production otherwise at sea".  ^ " Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
theatre review: Tamsin Greig
Tamsin Greig
brings dazzling comic brio to a gender-bending production ★★★★★".  ^ "About the play - Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
- Royal Shakespeare
Company". www.rsc.org.uk.  ^ Examined, for example, in Jami Ake, "Glimpsing a 'Lesbian' Poetics in Twelfth Night", Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900, 43.2, Tudor and Stuart Drama (Spring 2003) pp 375–94. ^ "Epiphany (Star, 1999) Epiphany (Bow Shakespeare
Series #8)". takarazuka-revue.info. Retrieved 11 December 2010.  ^ "Twelfth Night: Or What You Will (1996)". Foster on Film. Retrieved 11 December 2010.  ^ Vahimagi, Tise; British Film Institute (1994). British Television: An Illustrated Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN 0-19-818336-4.  ^ British Universities Film & Video Council. Retrieved 19 April 2016

Donno, Elizabeth Story (ed.): Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
(Cambridge, 2003) Mahood, M. M. (ed.) Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
(Penguin, 1995) Pennington, Michael: Twelfth Night: a user's guide (New York, 2000) Mulherin, Jennifer: Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
( Shakespeare
for Everyone)

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plain text from Project Gutenberg Twelfth Night
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public domain audiobook at LibriVox Lesson plans for Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
at Web English Teacher Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
study guide and teacher resources – themes, quotes, multimedia, study questions For an analysis of various characters in Twelfth Night, one may refer to Pinaki Roy's essay “Epiphanies: Rereading Select Characters in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night”, published in Yearly Shakespeare
– 2012 (I.S.S.N. 0976-9536) 10, April 2012: 53-60.

v t e

William Shakespeare



Antony and Cleopatra Coriolanus Hamlet Julius Caesar King Lear Macbeth Othello Romeo and Juliet Timon of Athens Titus Andronicus Troilus and Cressida


All's Well That Ends Well As You Like It The Comedy of Errors Cymbeline Love's Labour's Lost Measure for Measure The Merchant of Venice The Merry Wives of Windsor A Midsummer Night's Dream Much Ado About Nothing Pericles, Prince of Tyre* The Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Twelfth Night The Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsmen* The Winter's Tale


King John Edward III* Richard II Henry IV

1 2

Henry V Henry VI

1* 2 3

Richard III Henry VIII*

See also

Problem plays Late romances Characters

A–K L–Z Ghost character

Chronology Performances Settings Quarto publications First Folio Second Folio


Shakespeare's sonnets

comparison to Petrarch

A Lover's Complaint The Phoenix and the Turtle The Rape of Lucrece Venus and Adonis



Arden of Faversham The Birth of Merlin Cardenio* Double Falsehood Edmund Ironside Fair Em Locrine The London Prodigal Love's Labour's Won The Merry Devil of Edmonton Mucedorus The Puritan The Second Maiden's Tragedy Sejanus His Fall Sir John Oldcastle Sir Thomas More* The Spanish Tragedy Thomas Lord Cromwell Thomas of Woodstock Vortigern and Rowena A Yorkshire Tragedy


The Passionate Pilgrim To the Queen

Life and works

Birthplace and childhood home Bibliography

Complete Works of William Shakespeare Translations

Early editions Editors English Renaissance theatre Globe Theatre Handwriting Lord Chamberlain's Men/King's Men

The Theatre Curtain Theatre

New Place Portraits Religious views Sexuality Spelling of his name Stratford-upon-Avon Style


Attribution studies Authorship question Influence Memorials Screen adaptations Shakespeare
Birthplace Trust Folger Shakespeare


Shakespeare's Globe
Shakespeare's Globe
(replica) Bardolatry Titles of works taken from Shakespeare


Anne Hathaway (wife) Susanna Hall
Susanna Hall
(daughter) Hamnet Shakespeare
Hamnet Shakespeare
(son) Judith Quiney
Judith Quiney
(daughter) Elizabeth Barnard
Elizabeth Barnard
(granddaughter) John Shakespeare
John Shakespeare
(father) Mary Arden (mother) Gilbert Shakespeare
Gilbert Shakespeare
(brother) Joan Shakespeare (sister) Edmund Shakespeare (brother) Richard Shakespeare (grandfather) John Hall (son-in-law) Thomas Quiney
Thomas Quiney
(son-in-law) Thomas Nash
Thomas Nash

* Shakespeare
and other authors Lost

v t e

William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night


Viola Orsino Olivia Sebastian Malvolio Maria Sir Toby Belch Sir Andrew Aguecheek Feste

On screen

1933 1955 1966 1980 (TV) 1986 1988 (TV) 1992 (TV) 1996


Your Own Thing
Your Own Thing
(1968) Music Is
Music Is
(1976) Play On!
Play On!
(1997) Illyria
(2004) All Shook Up (2004)


Just One of the Guys
Just One of the Guys
(1985) Motocrossed
(2001) She's the Man
She's the Man
(2006) Dil Bole Hadippa!
Dil Bole Hadippa!


Viola (unfinished)

Story within a story

"Grace" (2011)

v t e

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play

The Way of the World
The Way of the World
/ Thieves' Carnival
/ Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
/ The Merchant of Venice / The White Devil
The White Devil
(1955) The Iceman Cometh (1956) No award (1957–1974) Same Time, Next Year / Equus (1975) Streamers (1976) A Texas Trilogy / Otherwise Engaged (1977) Da (1978) The Elephant Man (1979) Children of a Lesser God (1980) Amadeus (1981) "Master Harold"...and the Boys
"Master Harold"...and the Boys
(1982) Torch Song Trilogy (1983) The Real Thing (1984) As Is (1985) A Lie of the Mind (1986) Fences (1987) M. Butterfly (1988) The Heidi Chronicles
The Heidi Chronicles
(1989) The Piano Lesson (1990) Lost in Yonkers
Lost in Yonkers
(1991) Marvin's Room (1992) Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (1993) Angels in America: Perestroika (1994) Love! Valour! Compassion! (1995) Master Class (1996) How I Learned to Drive (1997) The Beauty Queen of Leenane
The Beauty Queen of Leenane
(1998) Wit (1999) Copenhagen (2000) Proof (2001) The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
/ Metamorphoses (2002) Take Me Out (2003) I Am My Own Wife
I Am My Own Wife
(2004) Doubt: A Parable (2005) The History Boys
The History Boys
(2006) The Coast of Utopia (2007) August: Osage County (2008) Ruined (2009) Red (2010) War Horse (2011) Tribes (2012) Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
(2013) All the Way (2014) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2015) The Humans (2016) Oslo (2017)

v t e

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play

Anna Christie
Anna Christie
(1993) An Inspector Calls
An Inspector Calls
(1994) The Heiress (1995) A Delicate Balance (1996) A Doll's House
A Doll's House
(1997) A View from the Bridge
A View from the Bridge
(1998) Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman
/ The Iceman Cometh (1999) The Real Thing (2000) The Best Man (2001) Private Lives
Private Lives
(2002) Long Day's Journey into Night
Long Day's Journey into Night
(2003) Henry IV (2004) Twelve Angry Men (2005) Awake and Sing!
Awake and Sing!
(2006) Journey's End
Journey's End
(2007) Boeing-Boeing (2008) The Norman Conquests (2009) A View from the Bridge
A View from the Bridge
/ Fences (2010) The Normal Heart
The Normal Heart
(2011) Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman
(2012) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
(2013) Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
(2014) The Elephant Man (2015) A View from the Bridge
A View from the Bridge
(2016) Jitney (2017)

v t e

Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Award for Best Revival


Pericles (1991) Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler
(1992) An Inspector Calls
An Inspector Calls
(1993) Machinal
(1994) As You Like It
As You Like It


Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night
/ Uncle Vanya
Uncle Vanya
(2003) Mourning Becomes Electra (2004) Hamlet
(2005) Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler
(2006) The Crucible
The Crucible
(2007) Saint Joan (2008) The Histories (2009) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
(2010) After the Dance (2011) Anna Christie
Anna Christie
(2012) Long Day's Journey into Night
Long Day's Journey into Night
(2013) Ghosts (2014) A View from the Bridge
A View from the Bridge
(2015) Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
(2016) Yerma

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 316392393 LCCN: n83311502 GND: 4316770-6 SUDOC: 02902269X BNF: cb1207