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Friday, November 27, 2015 पिया गये रंगून... Twelfth Night!Comedy theme song this time in India Malvolioes would not spare anyone,anything! America roots in Puritanism and so we become Puritan! #Ambedkar#Constitution#Parliament Live #Patanga #Shamshad Begum#Rangoon#Shakespeare#Queen Elizabeth#England#Puritan Gift#History Puritan# Agenda#Occupy Global Order#Institutional Fascism#Intolerance#Indian Politics#Colonial Roots Palash Biswas

पिया गये रंगून... Twelfth Night!Comedy theme song this time in India Malvolioes would not spare anyone,anything!

America roots in Puritanism and so we become Puritan!

#Ambedkar#Constitution#Parliament Live #Patanga #Shamshad Begum#Rangoon#Shakespeare#Queen Elizabeth#England#Puritan Gift#History Puritan# Agenda#Occupy Global Order#Institutional Fascism#Intolerance#Indian Politics#Colonial Roots

Palash Biswas

  1. Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon - Shamshad Begum, C ... - YouTube


  3. Artists: Shamshad Begum, C. Ramchandra

  4. Movie: Patanga

  5. Twelfth Night

  6. Play by William Shakespeare

  7. Twelfth Night, or What You Will 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.Wikipedia

  8. First performance: February 2, 1602

  9. Playwright: William Shakespeare

  10. Creator: William Shakespeare

  11. Original language: English

  12. Characters: Viola, Malvolio, Duke Orsino,Countess Olivia, Feste, more

  13. Adaptations: She's the Man (2006), more

Political scenario and monopolistic aggression against humanity and nature might be the best elements of comedy as well as tragedy.Comedy Because it blasts the purity as well as the Puritan.Tragedy because the katharsis resembles in resultant holocaust and bloodshed.Hence I am discussing Shakespearean comedy Twelfth Night!

The reign of Elizabeth I of England, from 1558 to 1603, saw the rise of the Puritan movement in England, its clash with the authorities of the Church of England, and its temporarily effective suppression in the 1590s by severe judicial means.Twelfth Night is very important in this context.

Twelfth Night relies on the devices of dramatic irony and twinning to capture the attention of the audience. The comedy is unusual in its use of melancholic music .quite contradictory to Indian music and musicality!

We face the same dramatic irony of Twelfth Night, seen through gender reversal, disguise, and mistaken identity, exposes each character's intolerance, daydreaming and ambitious involvement to create chaos and anarchy!

Thus, British history repeats itself  in a democracy achieved from the British Raj in India!The Puritans have got the helms and they end in institutional fascism in disguise of religious nationalism and we see the gender reversal in ideological melody and the mistaken identities invoked play the havoc on freedom, democracy!It is total reformist degeneration!Which happens to be racist at the same time.

Then,the Puritans were a group of English Reformed Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England from all Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England was only partially reformed.

Puritans were also accused of being power hungry and Malvolio's secret social ambitions fit the bill. Historians have noted that America took form in the womb of England. This truth is overlooked but extremely important. When we look deeper into the body of English history in the 1500's we can certainly make out within it the embryo of a new breed of people. At that time a certain company of Christian activists were beginning to stir and kick within the English mother country. These were the people who sparked the English Reformation. As a result of their zeal and their commitment to reform and to 'purify' the Church of England they would come to be known as the 'Puritans'.

It is something like the agenda of OCCUPY the Global Order!Thus, we catch Malvolio daydreaming about marrying Countess Olivia, like daydreaming to make the Nation free from other religion and race.It is called love and pasiion for the religion instead of lady Olivia!

Lest we should learn that Malvolio  day dream to change everything mythically has less to do with love of religion  than it has to do with his aspirations for social,political economic power misusing identities and faith of the common masses. It is the Comedy!

What does Malvolio's power fantasy look like?

Just to rename and reshape all the places of worship opting for ethnic cleansing and genocide culture launching and relaunching holocaust and bloodshed time and again! It is not the story of the comedy Twelfth Night which involves religious ritual!In UK,people used to have parties on Twelfth Night and it was traditional to play practical jokes on your friends and neighbours. These included tricks such as hiding live birds in an empty pie case, so that they flew away when your startled guests cut open the crusts (as in the nursery rhyme "Sing A Song of Sixpence" goes, "…the pie was opened and the birds began to sing".

Twelfth Night Ritual – also known as Wassail Eve. Traditionally a time when a 'Twelfth Night' cake is baked and a time for Wassailing. Wassailing is the Celtic custom of sharing baked apples and cider. The first Celtic festival of the year, customary rededications are affirmed for one's spiritual path.

Well, it involves wearing fancy clothes, bossing around the servants, and playing moral cop to Sir Toby's bad guy. Malvolio seems to be punished as much for his moral haughtiness as for his social climbing fantasies, which makes him central to the play's concern with the dangers of social ambition.

We have the same sort of Puritans creating the reformist tsunami as they have to purify everything and never hesitate to shed blood.

It is quite interesting that Malvolio is the steward (head servant) to Lady Oliviathe romantic lead.Then Malvolio pose as puritan as we witness Puritan tsunami these days which seems to be rather a Fatwa Tsunami against criticism of Puritan ideology and politics mixed remixed with Free Market Economy,institutional fascism and blind religious nationalism.London witnessed  this Puritan Malvolio brotherhood making a chaos in English life just after Twelfth Night was played and theatres were shut down.

Elizabethan era is described as Golden age in British History as the rewritten history of India might add the most golden era as this neoliberal age of institutional fascism which claims to be pure and despises everything which is not in accordance their ethics,faith and moral ,ideals.Thus,freedom of expression banned and intensive hate campaign kills the love.This puritan culture should be treated as the comedy of tragedy which is all about Twelfth Night by Shakespeare.

Indian people might be personified as the lady love who sings for the absent Piya;Piya gaye Rangoon wahan se kiya telephoon.And it is not Telephoon,it is LIVE Telecast as well as Live stream flowing into social networking captured by Puritans.

Who have nothing against Class Caste rule or political,economic and religious authorities rather they do everything to sustain the Manusmriti Rule.

Here you are!

Ambedkar reincarnated as Vishnu Bhagawan and Constitution day celebrated officially to kill the constitution itself.

It seems rather eternal truth about the business friendly governance as the FDI leadership rules the masses from this or that foreign land and Khabardar,you dare not criticize!

I have not to focus on incidents and examples.We do enjoy the comedy as well as the tragedy with blind faith and keep mum,Those who speak,the lot of fools visit and revisit the most vocal scenario of exclusion and execution as well.We already know the names involved.

Back to Twelfth Night,Malvolio remains  a big time hater and criticizes just about everything – Toby's partying lifestyle, Feste's licensed fooling, and all other forms of fun. His party-pooper ways and constant tattle-telling place a big giant bulls-eye on his back – he's just asking for trouble. And that's exactly what he gets when he's duped into behaving like a "madman" to win the favor of Lady Olivia.

Back to Puritan movement:In accordance to Wiki in 1553, Edward VI died and his Catholic half-sister assumed the throne as Mary I of England. Mary sought to end the English Reformation and restore the Church of England to full communion with the Church of Rome, and instituted repression later known as the Marian Persecutions. It saw Thomas Cranmer and other prominent English Protestantsburned at the stake.

John Knox (c.1510–1572), leader of Protestant exiles inFrankfurt.

Roughly 800 English Protestants (the Marian exiles) left the country for religious reasons. Unwelcome in German Lutheran territories, they established English Protestant congregations in Emden, Wesel, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Zurich, Basel,Geneva, and Aarau. Most of these churches continued to follow the 1552 Book of Common Prayer, but the Frankfurt congregation, under the leadership of John Knoxused a liturgy drawn up by Knox, known as the Book of Common Order, according to which the clergy did not wear vestments. The Frankfurt congregation was at odds with other English Marian exiles.

In 1558, Queen Mary died, and her half-sister, Elizabeth became Queen of England. Elizabeth had been raised as a Protestant in the household of Catherine Parr. During the first year of Elizabeth's reign many of the Marian exiles returned to England. A compromise religious position established in 1559 is now known as the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. It attempted to make England Protestant without totally alienating the portion of the population that had supported Catholicism under Mary. The settlement was consolidated in 1563. An interim position of 11 articles of faith operated for a few years.[1]

The Church of England under Elizabeth was broadly Reformed in nature: Elizabeth's first Archbishop of Canterbury,Matthew Parker had been the executor of Martin Bucer's will, and his replacement, Edmund Grindal had carried the coffin at Bucer's funeral. While the Elizabethan Settlement proved generally acceptable, there remained minorities who were dissatisfied with the state of the Church of England. In particular cry for "further reform" in the 1560s was the basis of what is now known as the Puritan Movement.

Maria says that "sometimes he is a kind of puritan" (2.3.139), which aligns Malvolio with the religious group despised for its opposition to the theater, winter festivals, and other forms of entertainment (just about everything Twelfth Night celebrates). Malvolio's not a Puritan, per se, but the fact that the play aligns him with the sect and goes out of its way to stage his humiliation makes Malvolio's disgrace an important part of the play's rebellious, nose-thumbing spirit.

Twelfth Night

Shakespeare homepage | Twelfth Night | Act 2, Scene 3




Approach, Sir Andrew: not to be abed after

midnight is to be up betimes; and 'diluculo

surgere,' thou know'st,--


Nay, my troth, I know not: but I know, to be up

late is to be up late.


A false conclusion: I hate it as an unfilled can.

To be up after midnight and to go to bed then, is

early: so that to go to bed after midnight is to go

to bed betimes. Does not our life consist of the

four elements?


Faith, so they say; but I think it rather consists

of eating and drinking.


Thou'rt a scholar; let us therefore eat and drink.

Marian, I say! a stoup of wine!

Enter Clown


Here comes the fool, i' faith.


How now, my hearts! did you never see the picture

of 'we three'?


Welcome, ass. Now let's have a catch.


By my troth, the fool has an excellent breast. I

had rather than forty shillings I had such a leg,

and so sweet a breath to sing, as the fool has. In

sooth, thou wast in very gracious fooling last

night, when thou spokest of Pigrogromitus, of the

Vapians passing the equinoctial of Queubus: 'twas

very good, i' faith. I sent thee sixpence for thy

leman: hadst it?


I did impeticos thy gratillity; for Malvolio's nose

is no whipstock: my lady has a white hand, and the

Myrmidons are no bottle-ale houses.


Excellent! why, this is the best fooling, when all

is done. Now, a song.


Come on; there is sixpence for you: let's have a song.


There's a testril of me too: if one knight give a--


Would you have a love-song, or a song of good life?


A love-song, a love-song.


Ay, ay: I care not for good life.



O mistress mine, where are you roaming?

O, stay and hear; your true love's coming,

That can sing both high and low:

Trip no further, pretty sweeting;

Journeys end in lovers meeting,

Every wise man's son doth know.


Excellent good, i' faith.


Good, good.



What is love? 'tis not hereafter;

Present mirth hath present laughter;

What's to come is still unsure:

In delay there lies no plenty;

Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,

Youth's a stuff will not endure.


A mellifluous voice, as I am true knight.


A contagious breath.


Very sweet and contagious, i' faith.


To hear by the nose, it is dulcet in contagion.

But shall we make the welkin dance indeed? shall we

rouse the night-owl in a catch that will draw three

souls out of one weaver? shall we do that?


An you love me, let's do't: I am dog at a catch.


By'r lady, sir, and some dogs will catch well.


Most certain. Let our catch be, 'Thou knave.'


'Hold thy peace, thou knave,' knight? I shall be

constrained in't to call thee knave, knight.


'Tis not the first time I have constrained one to

call me knave. Begin, fool: it begins 'Hold thy peace.'


I shall never begin if I hold my peace.


Good, i' faith. Come, begin.

Catch sung



What a caterwauling do you keep here! If my lady

have not called up her steward Malvolio and bid him

turn you out of doors, never trust me.


My lady's a Cataian, we are politicians, Malvolio's

a Peg-a-Ramsey, and 'Three merry men be we.' Am not

I consanguineous? am I not of her blood?

Tillyvally. Lady!


'There dwelt a man in Babylon, lady, lady!'


Beshrew me, the knight's in admirable fooling.


Ay, he does well enough if he be disposed, and so do

I too: he does it with a better grace, but I do it

more natural.


[Sings] 'O, the twelfth day of December,'--


For the love o' God, peace!



My masters, are you mad? or what are you? Have ye

no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like

tinkers at this time of night? Do ye make an

alehouse of my lady's house, that ye squeak out your

coziers' catches without any mitigation or remorse

of voice? Is there no respect of place, persons, nor

time in you?


We did keep time, sir, in our catches. Sneck up!


Sir Toby, I must be round with you. My lady bade me

tell you, that, though she harbours you as her

kinsman, she's nothing allied to your disorders. If

you can separate yourself and your misdemeanors, you

are welcome to the house; if not, an it would please

you to take leave of her, she is very willing to bid

you farewell.


'Farewell, dear heart, since I must needs be gone.'


Nay, good Sir Toby.


'His eyes do show his days are almost done.'


Is't even so?


'But I will never die.'


Sir Toby, there you lie.


This is much credit to you.


'Shall I bid him go?'


'What an if you do?'


'Shall I bid him go, and spare not?'


'O no, no, no, no, you dare not.'


Out o' tune, sir: ye lie. Art any more than a

steward? Dost thou think, because thou art

virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?


Yes, by Saint Anne, and ginger shall be hot i' the

mouth too.


Thou'rt i' the right. Go, sir, rub your chain with

crumbs. A stoup of wine, Maria!


Mistress Mary, if you prized my lady's favour at any

thing more than contempt, you would not give means

for this uncivil rule: she shall know of it, by this hand.



Go shake your ears.


'Twere as good a deed as to drink when a man's

a-hungry, to challenge him the field, and then to

break promise with him and make a fool of him.


Do't, knight: I'll write thee a challenge: or I'll

deliver thy indignation to him by word of mouth.


Sweet Sir Toby, be patient for tonight: since the

youth of the count's was today with thy lady, she is

much out of quiet. For Monsieur Malvolio, let me

alone with him: if I do not gull him into a

nayword, and make him a common recreation, do not

think I have wit enough to lie straight in my bed:

I know I can do it.


Possess us, possess us; tell us something of him.


Marry, sir, sometimes he is a kind of puritan.


O, if I thought that I'ld beat him like a dog!


What, for being a puritan? thy exquisite reason,

dear knight?


I have no exquisite reason for't, but I have reason

good enough.


The devil a puritan that he is, or any thing

constantly, but a time-pleaser; an affectioned ass,

that cons state without book and utters it by great

swarths: the best persuaded of himself, so

crammed, as he thinks, with excellencies, that it is

his grounds of faith that all that look on him love

him; and on that vice in him will my revenge find

notable cause to work.


What wilt thou do?


I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of

love; wherein, by the colour of his beard, the shape

of his leg, the manner of his gait, the expressure

of his eye, forehead, and complexion, he shall find

himself most feelingly personated. I can write very

like my lady your niece: on a forgotten matter we

can hardly make distinction of our hands.


Excellent! I smell a device.


I have't in my nose too.


He shall think, by the letters that thou wilt drop,

that they come from my niece, and that she's in

love with him.


My purpose is, indeed, a horse of that colour.


And your horse now would make him an ass.


Ass, I doubt not.


O, 'twill be admirable!


Sport royal, I warrant you: I know my physic will

work with him. I will plant you two, and let the

fool make a third, where he shall find the letter:

observe his construction of it. For this night, to

bed, and dream on the event. Farewell.



Good night, Penthesilea.


Before me, she's a good wench.


She's a beagle, true-bred, and one that adores me:

what o' that?


I was adored once too.


Let's to bed, knight. Thou hadst need send for

more money.


If I cannot recover your niece, I am a foul way out.


Send for money, knight: if thou hast her not i'

the end, call me cut.


If I do not, never trust me, take it how you will.


Come, come, I'll go burn some sack; 'tis too late

to go to bed now: come, knight; come, knight.


Twelfth Night

Shakespeare homepage | Twelfth Night | Act 2, Scene 5

SCENE V. OLIVIA's garden.



Come thy ways, Signior Fabian.


Nay, I'll come: if I lose a scruple of this sport,

let me be boiled to death with melancholy.


Wouldst thou not be glad to have the niggardly

rascally sheep-biter come by some notable shame?


I would exult, man: you know, he brought me out o'

favour with my lady about a bear-baiting here.


To anger him we'll have the bear again; and we will

fool him black and blue: shall we not, Sir Andrew?


An we do not, it is pity of our lives.


Here comes the little villain.


How now, my metal of India!


Get ye all three into the box-tree: Malvolio's

coming down this walk: he has been yonder i' the

sun practising behavior to his own shadow this half

hour: observe him, for the love of mockery; for I

know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of

him. Close, in the name of jesting! Lie thou there,

Throws down a letter

for here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling.




'Tis but fortune; all is fortune. Maria once told

me she did affect me: and I have heard herself come

thus near, that, should she fancy, it should be one

of my complexion. Besides, she uses me with a more

exalted respect than any one else that follows her.

What should I think on't?


Here's an overweening rogue!


O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock

of him: how he jets under his advanced plumes!


'Slight, I could so beat the rogue!


Peace, I say.


To be Count Malvolio!


Ah, rogue!


Pistol him, pistol him.


Peace, peace!


There is example for't; the lady of the Strachy

married the yeoman of the wardrobe.


Fie on him, Jezebel!


O, peace! now he's deeply in: look how

imagination blows him.


Having been three months married to her, sitting in

my state,--


O, for a stone-bow, to hit him in the eye!


Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet

gown; having come from a day-bed, where I have left

Olivia sleeping,--


Fire and brimstone!


O, peace, peace!


And then to have the humour of state; and after a

demure travel of regard, telling them I know my

place as I would they should do theirs, to for my

kinsman Toby,--


Bolts and shackles!


O peace, peace, peace! now, now.


Seven of my people, with an obedient start, make

out for him: I frown the while; and perchance wind

up watch, or play with my--some rich jewel. Toby

approaches; courtesies there to me,--


Shall this fellow live?


Though our silence be drawn from us with cars, yet peace.


I extend my hand to him thus, quenching my familiar

smile with an austere regard of control,--


And does not Toby take you a blow o' the lips then?


Saying, 'Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me on

your niece give me this prerogative of speech,'--


What, what?


'You must amend your drunkenness.'


Out, scab!


Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our plot.


'Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with

a foolish knight,'--


That's me, I warrant you.


'One Sir Andrew,'--


I knew 'twas I; for many do call me fool.


What employment have we here?

Taking up the letter


Now is the woodcock near the gin.


O, peace! and the spirit of humour intimate reading

aloud to him!


By my life, this is my lady's hand these be her

very C's, her U's and her T's and thus makes she her

great P's. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.


Her C's, her U's and her T's: why that?


[Reads] 'To the unknown beloved, this, and my good

wishes:'--her very phrases! By your leave, wax.

Soft! and the impressure her Lucrece, with which she

uses to seal: 'tis my lady. To whom should this be?


This wins him, liver and all.



Jove knows I love: But who?

Lips, do not move;

No man must know.

'No man must know.' What follows? the numbers

altered! 'No man must know:' if this should be

thee, Malvolio?


Marry, hang thee, brock!



I may command where I adore;

But silence, like a Lucrece knife,

With bloodless stroke my heart doth gore:

M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.


A fustian riddle!


Excellent wench, say I.


'M, O, A, I, doth sway my life.' Nay, but first, let

me see, let me see, let me see.


What dish o' poison has she dressed him!


And with what wing the staniel cheques at it!


'I may command where I adore.' Why, she may command

me: I serve her; she is my lady. Why, this is

evident to any formal capacity; there is no

obstruction in this: and the end,--what should

that alphabetical position portend? If I could make

that resemble something in me,--Softly! M, O, A,



O, ay, make up that: he is now at a cold scent.


Sowter will cry upon't for all this, though it be as

rank as a fox.


M,--Malvolio; M,--why, that begins my name.


Did not I say he would work it out? the cur is

excellent at faults.


M,--but then there is no consonancy in the sequel;

that suffers under probation A should follow but O does.


And O shall end, I hope.


Ay, or I'll cudgel him, and make him cry O!


And then I comes behind.


Ay, an you had any eye behind you, you might see

more detraction at your heels than fortunes before



M, O, A, I; this simulation is not as the former: and

yet, to crush this a little, it would bow to me, for

every one of these letters are in my name. Soft!

here follows prose.


'If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars I

am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some

are born great, some achieve greatness, and some

have greatness thrust upon 'em. Thy Fates open

their hands; let thy blood and spirit embrace them;

and, to inure thyself to what thou art like to be,

cast thy humble slough and appear fresh. Be

opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants; let

thy tongue tang arguments of state; put thyself into

the trick of singularity: she thus advises thee

that sighs for thee. Remember who commended thy

yellow stockings, and wished to see thee ever

cross-gartered: I say, remember. Go to, thou art

made, if thou desirest to be so; if not, let me see

thee a steward still, the fellow of servants, and

not worthy to touch Fortune's fingers. Farewell.

She that would alter services with thee,


Daylight and champaign discovers not more: this is

open. I will be proud, I will read politic authors,

I will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off gross

acquaintance, I will be point-devise the very man.

I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade

me; for every reason excites to this, that my lady

loves me. She did commend my yellow stockings of

late, she did praise my leg being cross-gartered;

and in this she manifests herself to my love, and

with a kind of injunction drives me to these habits

of her liking. I thank my stars I am happy. I will

be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and

cross-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting

on. Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a



'Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If thou

entertainest my love, let it appear in thy smiling;

thy smiles become thee well; therefore in my

presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.'

Jove, I thank thee: I will smile; I will do

everything that thou wilt have me.



I will not give my part of this sport for a pension

of thousands to be paid from the Sophy.


I could marry this wench for this device.


So could I too.


And ask no other dowry with her but such another jest.


Nor I neither.


Here comes my noble gull-catcher.

Re-enter MARIA


Wilt thou set thy foot o' my neck?


Or o' mine either?


Shall I play my freedom at traytrip, and become thy



I' faith, or I either?


Why, thou hast put him in such a dream, that when

the image of it leaves him he must run mad.


Nay, but say true; does it work upon him?


Like aqua-vitae with a midwife.


If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark

his first approach before my lady: he will come to

her in yellow stockings, and 'tis a colour she

abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests;

and he will smile upon her, which will now be so

unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a

melancholy as she is, that it cannot but turn him

into a notable contempt. If you will see it, follow



To the gates of Tartar, thou most excellent devil of wit!


I'll make one too.



[Revised and partly edited, January 20, 2004, September 17, 2008 and September 14, 2012]

17th century England was troubled by the same kinds of problems as the rest of Europe--political , economic, and social tension made worse by religious division.  The English parliament, which should have been an instrument for peaceful change, often only made things worse.  Even competent rulers and officials had trouble governing the country.  But surprisingly enough, by the end of the 17th century, the English had found a lasting solution to the problems that confronted them.

I.  English problems

England tended to have the same kind of economic problems as the rest of Europe (rapid inflation brought on by the influx of New World gold, loss of real wages, etc.).  A particular problem for English rulers was that royal revenue tended to be insufficient to meet new demands placed on them  Also, changes in agriculture created problems.  English agricultural had once been dominated by farm types growing grain on land owned by others.  The landowners discovered they could make more money by enclosing their land and devoting it raising sheep.  But this was less labor intensive, and there was no longer a living on the farm for many, many Englishmen.  

Economic problems/changes led to social tension.  Those forced off the farms tended to go to the towns and cities to look for work, and the large numbers of people competing for jobs put further downward pressure on wages.  Naturally enough, working-class people were unhappy, and, while unable to lead any kind of movement for change, they might well provide cannon-fodder for more priviliged people who might be trying to stir things up. The more privileged types had the same grievances as their equivalents in the rest of Europe.  A rising middle class wanted more say in government, while nobles might want to gain back some of their lost privileges.

Economic and social tension, then meant political tension as well, and there is always some potential for civil war in England throught this period.  In addition, there was increased potential for war with other countries. Friction over trade/colonies could easily lead to war with France, the Netherlands, or Spain at any time in this period.  Even closer to home, Scotland and Ireland were potentially troublesome, and obvious allies to any continental enemy England might have to face.

The potential for religious trouble was also great.  In his break from the Catholic church, Henry VIII had created a very unstable religious situation.  Henry had no doctrinal problems with Catholicism: he separated from the Roman church only so he could get a divorce from his wife Catherine.  But the structrual changes he made to the English church (now called the Anglican church or the Church of England or--in this country--Episcopalians) meant that the ruler of England now also was head of the church, and so every time the ruler changed, there might be a major change in religion. After Henry's death, Edward (his son) was dominated by advisors who pushed England toward Calvinism. When Edward died, Mary (Henry's daughter by the divorced Catherine) shifted religious policy toward Catholicism. When Mary died, Elizabeth (another of Henry's daughters) had no patience with either extreme.  The result of Henry's changes: an Anglican/Catholic/Puritan split that eventually led to religious civil war.

However, during the last years of the 16th century, the problems weren't so bad because England had particularly able ruler, one of finest in English history,

Elizabeth I (1558-1603).  Elizabeth had lots of things going for her:

  • She was a frugal monarchy, and, as a result, could protect her popularity by *not* raising taxes.

  • She was a great diplomat (In class, I discuss her use of the promise of marriage  to reduce potential problems, speculating that she may have delayed the 1588 Armada by hinting at the possibility of marriage to King Philip).

  • She was an excellent public speaker, and, as a result, could unite her people, giving them a clear common vision (cf.,  Elizabeth's Golden Speechand these selected speeches from the Internet Modern History Sourcebook).  [In class, I note her improvised speech to a rather rude Polish Ambassador that Cecil considered  the best speech he had ever heard--and given in Latin!]

  • She encouraged exploration (sending out people like Drake and Raleigh), and, long term, England would greatly benefit from colonies and increased trade.

  • Most important, Elizabeth managed to keep relgious troubles to a mimium with her policy of  latitudinarianism, a policy that included as many people as possible within church of England, and persecuted any hold outs on either Catholic or Puritan side.

All this meant  that, while other European countries went through periods of religious civil war, England has a (relative) Golden Age--an age the produceds figures like Shakespeare.

One problem remained: would Elizabeth have a decent successor?  Elizabeth never married and had no child. Her advisors partly solved the succession problem by preparing for a transfer of the crown to a distant cousin of Elizabeth (1st cousin twice removed, I believe), the Scottish king (James VI when we think of him as a Scottish monarch) who now becomes the first of our Stuart monarchs of England, James I (when we think of him as an English king).  Now how's that for potentially confusing!

James I [James VI of Scotland] (1603-1625)

James seemed in some ways ideal for continuing Elizabeth's program.  He continued exploration and colonization of the New World (e.g., Jamestown).  Such colonies were an important social and religious safety valve. Dissatisfied citizens could become leaders in New World, and those who had no economic opportunity at home could have chance at even becoming wealthy in New World.  Likewise religious groups (Pilgrims, Puritans, Catholics) could go to new world instead of causing problems at home.

James also tried to continue Elizabeth's latitudinarian policy in religion.  The KJV version of the Bible contributed greatly to Christian unity, and, whatever differences English speaking Chrisitans might have, for the next three centuries they at least shared a common Bible translation.  James had specifically asked his translators for a version of the Bible all could agree on, and the translators did this by relying on direct, literal translation from Greek and Hebrew rather than resorting to potentially controversial "interpretation" in place of translation.  No "dynamic equivalence" garbage for them!!!

Also, because James was already King of Scotland, the potential for English/Scottish conflict seemed finished.   

Unfortunately for James, the religious situation began to get out of hand despite his best efforts.  Adding to religious tension: the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Some Catholics had thought James would attempt to reunite with Roman Catholic church.  When he didn't, some Catholic extremists were angry and wanted to kill James and the parliamentary leaders who might block a return to Catholicism. Llttle by little, they smuggled gunpowder into basement of Parliament, planning to blow it up.  The plot was discovered before it could come off, and Guy Fawkes (one of the conspirators) was caught red handed! The plotters were executed, but that wasn't the end of the story.  Because of the plot, many Englishmen began to really hate Catholics. "Guy Fawkes Day" became a national celebration ("Please to remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason, and plot.  I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot).  

Because Catholicism was now hated, James and his successors were under constant pressure to help the Protestant cause on the European continent (e.g., supporing the Protestants in the Thirty Years' War).  This was potentially very expensive, and, with already limited revenue, a real problem for English kings.

Also a problem, anti-Catholic sentiment led to the growth of Puritanism, a movement wanting to "purify" the church of England by removing all things associated with Catholic tradition (e.g., Christmas!).

The problems faced by James grew greater under his son and successor Charles I.

IV.  Charles I (1625-1649)

Charles was under constant pressure to help protestants in France and the Holy Roman Empire, but parliament wouldn't vote to provide the funds to support the wars they themselves insisted need to be fought.  Even worse, there were insufficient forces to properly prepare for what looked like an inevitable war with Spain. When Charles summoned parliament to ask for the authority to collect more tax revenue, parliament refused: they wanted first Charles agreement to what they called the Petition of Right, an agreement from the king that he would not resort to arbitrary arrests and imprisonments, arbitrary taxes, etc.).  These were good provisions in a way, but Charles, facing real trouble, didn't want his hands tied and refused to grant the petition.  

Eventually, Charles in frustration decided to do without parliament, bringing about the period of his "personal rule," 1629-1640.  Parliament didn't meet for more than ten years, and Charles collected taxes without parliamentary authorization.  Illegal?  No: existing laws gave him some loopholes.  He could tax those not showing up to have title of nobility confirmed.  He could tax on those not going to church.  He could extend other taxes as well--and he could do without.  Charles was overall a pretty frugal monarch, making do with the limited resources at his disposal.  

But Charles made a bad mistake.  Engcouraged by Biship Laud, Charles tried to unite the churches of England and Scotland by imposing theAnglican prayer book on the Scots.  The Scots were angry, and began a rebellion. Charles didn't have the resources to deal with problem, so, at long last, he called parliament into session again.

The "Long Parliament," began in 1640--right where parliament had left of in 1629. Would parliament agree to increased tax revenue?  Not unless the king consented to the Petition of Right!  What can the King do?  Charles sends his most trusted minister (Wentworth) to parliament--and parliament indicts him, having Wentworth put on trial. It's obvious Wentworth isn't going to be convicted, so Parliament ends the trial, tries Wentworth itself--and orders him to be executed!  The King might have intervened, by Wentworth himself was willing to give up his life, telling Charles not to try to save him.  Wentworth probably thought his blood would appease the opponents of royal authority.  In this he was wrong: give sharks a taste of blood and they want more.

Not only did Parliament order the execution of Wentworth,  members of parliament were encouraging and supporting the Scottish rebellion.  Well, enough is enough.  Charles ending up sending his soldiers in the parliament building itself with orders to arrest treasonous members of parliament.  This was a mistake: Charles angered the London mob by his actions, and touched of riots which drove him out of London.

Once outside London, Charles made preparations for a come-back, gathering sufficient forces to reclaim London and re-establish his authority. Parliament  was in trouble, and needed an army of its own. They get one. The key figure here: Oliver Cromwell.  Cromwell put together from the ranks of his fellow Puritans. an army of Puritans, convinced they are fighting for kingdom of God against forces of darkness.  The well disciplined, highly motivated "New Model Army" eventually defeated Charles' forces.  Charles was captured and parliament was in control. But parliament  needed now a competent executive.  They turn to Cromwell, giving him the title Lord Protector.  

Cromwell takes his job seriously, protecting England from:

  • Pariliament! Cromwell went to parliament with a request for money for his soldiers.  The parliamentary response: no way!!  Cromwell, the Lord Protector, had to keep England safe--so he kicked out any membe of parliament who wouldn't go along--eventually ruling without much help from parliament at all!

  • The King.  Cromwell had to end the possibility of a renewed attempt to put Charles in power and the conflict that would have come with that attempt.  How do you make sure no one will try to restore Charles to power?  The king must go: Charles is beheaded in 1649-- and England had been protected from it's King!

  • Subject peoples. Irish rebellion brutally put down.  England protected from Irish!

  • Themselves! Cromwell instituted a series of laws concerned with improving morality.  No gambling/ no bear or cock fighting/ adultery was severly penalized/ taverns closed/ oaths fined/ theaters closed.  Some of Cromwell's reforms were unquestionably good: no more capital punishment for minor crimes, debtors were freed from prison, corrupt and incompetent school and church officials were removed (the "scandalous, ignorant, and insufficient minister and schoolmasters." ). Cromwell was in many ways a far more absolute ruler than Charles had ever been--though not a king in the full sense.  And this in some ways a problem, because the absence of a king created a feeling that something was missing.  Cromwell died 1658, leaving much uncertainty as to what would happen next. Both the army and parliament eventually agreed that the best thing to do was to go back to Stuart monarchs, and Charles' son, Charles II, was asked to take the throne.

V.  Charles II (1660-1685)

Is some ways, it looked like Charles might have an easy time of it.  He was a very popuuar monarch. Most English were glad to have a king again, and glad the Puritans were not in control anymore.  After 18 years of Puritan austerity, it was party time in England, and the leading partier was Charles himself. He's sometimes called the "merrie monarch" --with good reason.  He certainly was no Puritan.  He carried on a very public affair with the actress Nell Gwynn, and it didn't seem to hurt his popularity at all.

But the religious situation still wasn't stable.  Charles had to deal, first of all, with an anti-Puritan movement.  Parliament passes the Clarendon code that created lasting trouble for "non-comformists," those who won't go along with the Church of England and its liturgy.  They can't hold political office and suffer other losses of privilege. On the other hand, there is sill a lot of anti-Catholic sentiment as well.  A man named Titus Oates persuaded a lot of people that there had been a "Popish plot" to kill the king. Anti-Catholic hysteria led to at least 15 totally unjustifed executions.  Oates was a liar, and Charles knew it: but he couldn't protect the victims.  The interesting thing is that some anti-Catholics really did plot to kill the king, who had strong Catholic leanings himself.

In any case, high religious tension made it harder to govern than it might have been, and was one of the reasons Charles and parliament had a major falling out.with pariament, and, from 1679-1685 he doesn't bother to call parliament into session.

VI. James II (1685-1688)

Charles's successor, his brother James, is another example of the problems English monarchs faced as a result of religion.  James himself had converted to Catholicism, something parliament found hard to take. Because his older daughters (Mary and Anne) were good protestants and because James was old, parliament tolerated having a Catholic king for the time being. Mary was married to one of leading protestant leaders on continent (William of Orange), and most were convinced that there would be a protestant leader in short order.  But then James fathered a son who, by English law, took precedence over his sisters. The son was going to raised Catholic, and this was too much for the anti-Catholics.  They had to get rid of James! But who would replace him?  Parliament asks Mary and her husband William to replace James.  This leads to...

VII.  The Glorious Revolution (1688)

Most revolutions are not glorious: they are bloody, unpleasant, and achieve little good.  This revolution really was glorious.  Why?

1.  It was a revolution without bloodshed (except for James' bloody nose).

2.  Almost by accident, the British had solved their political problems--king and parliament would work together.  France had solved its problems with an absolute monarchy: England now solves its problems with a limited monarchy--with kings recognizing the perogatives of parliament.  They also recognize the rights of people as a whole, agreeing to the Bill of Rights of 1689: document little known to most Americans, but the document that inspires our own Bill of Rights.

See the  English Bill of Rights--1689.

The Glorious Revolution meant that, in a certain sense, the English had solved their political problems.  There would be plenty of differences of opinion and plenty of conlicts, but now these problems would *always* be resolved the the pariamentary systerm, never through violence.  No more civil war, no more revolution--for more than three centuries now!  A pretty good solution I'd say.

Twelfth Night

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about Shakespeare's play. For other uses, see Twelfth Night (disambiguation).

Malvolio courts a bemused Olivia, while Maria covers her amusement, in an engraving by R. Staines after a painting byDaniel Maclise.

Twelfth Night, or What You Will[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 a boy) 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,[2] with plot elements drawn from the short story "Of Apollonius and Silla" by Barnabe Rich, based on a story byMatteo Bandello. The first recorded performance was on 2 February 1602, at Candlemas, the formal end of Christmastidein the year's calendar. The play was not published until its inclusion in the 1623 First Folio.




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

  • Viola - Sebastian's twin sister, a shipwrecked young lady, the heroine of the play, later disguised as a young man named Cesario.

  • Sebastian – Viola's twin brother, supposedly drowned in the shipwreck, but actually alive and visiting Illyria.

  • Duke Orsino – Duke of Illyria

  • Olivia – a wealthy countess

  • Malvolio – steward in the household of Olivia

  • Maria – Olivia's gentlewoman

  • Sir Toby Belch – Olivia's uncle

  • Sir Andrew Aguecheek – a rich man who Sir Toby brings to be Olivia's wooer

  • Feste – the clown, or jester, of Olivia's household

  • Fabian – a servant and friend to Sir Toby

  • Antonio – a captain and friend to Sebastian

  • Valentine and Curio – gentlemen attending on the Duke

  • A Servant of Olivia

  • Captain of the Wrecked Ship – friend to Viola


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, Montenegro and Albania. It included the city state of the Republic of Ragusa which has been proposed as the setting.[3] 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.[4]


Viola is shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria and she comes ashore with the help of a captain. She loses contact with her twin brother, Sebastian, whom she believes to be dead. Disguising herself as a young man under the name Cesario, she enters the service of Duke Orsino through the help of the sea captain who rescues her. Duke Orsino has convinced himself that he is in love with Olivia, whose father and brother have recently died, and who refuses to see charming things, be in the company of man, and entertain love or marriage proposals from any one until seven years have passed, the Duke included. Duke Orsino then uses 'Cesario' as an intermediary to profess his passionate love before Olivia. Olivia however, forgetting about the seven years in his case, falls in love with 'Cesario', as she does not realise 'he' is Viola in disguise. In the meantime, Viola has fallen in love with the Duke Orsino, creating a love triangle between Duke Orsino, Olivia and Viola, being that Duke Orsino loves Olivia, Viola loves Duke Orsino, and Olivia loves Viola.

A depiction of Olivia by 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 uncle, Sir Toby Belch; another would-be suitor, a silly squire named Sir Andrew Aguecheek; her servants Maria and Fabian; and her fool, Feste. Sir Toby and Sir Andrew engage themselves in drinking and revelry, thus disturbing the peace of Olivia's house 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 are urged to 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 hand. 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, Sebastian (who had been rescued by a sea captain, Antonio) arrives on the scene, which adds confusion of mistaken identity. Mistaking 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 similarity. At this point Viola reveals she is a female and that Sebastian is 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.


The play is believed to have drawn extensively on the Italian production Gl'ingannati (or The Deceived Ones),[5] collectively written by the Accademia degli Intronati in 1531. It is conjectured that the name of its male lead, Orsino, was suggested byVirginio Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, an Italian nobleman who visited London in the winter of 1600 to 1601.[6]

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

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]

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 and Portia in The Merchant of Venice), remaining someone who allows "Time" to untangle the plot.[12] Viola's persistence in transvestism through her betrothal in the final scene of the play often engenders a discussion of the possiblyhomoerotic relationship between Viola and Orsino. Her impassioned speech to Orsino, in which she describes an imaginary sister who "sat like patience on a monument, / Smiling at grief" for her love, likewise causes many critics to consider Viola's attitude of suffering in her love as a sign of the perceived weakness of the feminine (2.4).


At Olivia's first meeting with "Cesario" (Viola) in I.V she asks her "Are you a comedian?" (an Elizabethan term for "actor").[13]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.[14] 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".[15] 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 localcurate, Sir Topas, and his own voice. He finishes by likening himself to "the old Vice" of English Morality plays.[16] Other influences of the English folk tradition can be seen in Feste's songs and dialogue, such as his final song in Act V.[17] 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.[18]

Date and text[edit]

The title page of 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.[19] This was the first recorded performance of the play. The play was not published until its inclusion in the First Folio in 1623.

"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 but, prior to Shakespeare's play, had become a day of 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 source story, "Of Apolonius 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.[20]

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 term 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.[21]

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.

At this particular performance, Manningham also notes the interesting dimension that is added when a male actor plays a female character who disguises herself as a man. Some scholars attribute this to an innate Elizabethan structure that systematically deprived gender diversity of its nature and meaning.[22] Although male actors playing female roles were a natural feature of theatre productions during the Elizabethan era, they hold special significance in the production of this particular play. As the very nature of Twelfth Night explores gender identity and sexual attraction, having a male actor play Viola enhanced the impression of androgyny and sexual ambiguity.[23] Some modern scholars believe that Twelfth Night, with the added confusion of male actors and Viola's deception, addresses gender issues "with particular immediacy."[24]They also accept that the depiction of gender in Twelfth Night stems from the era's prevalent scientific theory that females are simply imperfect males.[23] This belief explains the almost indistinguishable differences between the sexes reflected in the casting and characters of Twelfth Night.

It may have been performed earlier as well, before the Court at Whitehall Palace on Twelfth Night (6 January) of 1601.[25]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 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 theRestoration; Sir William Davenant's adaptation was staged in 1661, with 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 in 1703.[6]

After holding the stage only in the adaptations in the late 17th century and early 18th century, the original Shakespearean text of Twelfth Night was revived in 1741, in a production at Drury Lane. In 1820 an operatic version by 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.

Poster advertising performances ofTwelfth Night by Yale University Dramatic Association, New Haven, Connecticut, 1921

Lilian Baylis reopened the long-dormant Sadler's Wells Theatre in 1931 with a notable production of the play starring Ralph Richardson as Sir Toby and John Gielgud as Malvolio. The Old Vic Theatre was reopened in 1950 (after suffering severe damage in the London Blitz in 1941) with a memorable production starring Peggy Ashcroft as Viola. Gielgud directed a production at theShakespeare Memorial Theatre with Laurence Olivier as Malvolio and Vivien Leigh playing both Viola and Sebastian in 1955. The longest running Broadwayproduction by far was Margaret Webster's 1940 staging starring Maurice Evansas Malvolio and 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.[26]

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 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 theWest End and Broadway. 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.[27] 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.[28] The 1966 Royal Shakespeare Company production played on gender transgressions more obviously, with 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.[29] John Barton's 1969 production starred Donald Sinden as Malvolio andJudi 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.[30]

Malvolio is a popular character choice among stage actors; others who have taken the part include Ian Holm many times,Simon Russell Beale (Donmar Warehouse, 2002), Richard Cordery in 2005, Patrick Stewart, in Chichester, in 2007, Derek Jacobi (Donmar Warehouse) in 2009, Richard Wilson in 2009[31] and Stephen Fry at the Globe in 2012.[32]



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),[33] there have been a number of re-workings for the stage, particularly in musical theatre, among them Your Own Thing (1968), Music Is (1977), All Shook Up (2005), and Play On! (1997), the last twojukebox musicals featuring the music of 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).[34]


See also: Shakespeare on screen § Twelfth Night

In 1910, Vitagraph Studios released the silent, short adaptation Twelfth Night starring actors Florence Turner, 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 as Olivia and Toby Stephens as Duke Orsino. The film also features Mel Smith as Sir Toby, Richard E. Grant as Sir Andrew, Ben Kingsley as Feste, 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.[35]

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 modernises the story as a contemporary teenage comedy (as 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 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. Several characters, Monique and Malcolm, do not seem to stem from any Shakespearean inspiration.

Shakespeare in Love contains several references to Twelfth Night. Near the end of the movie, Elizabeth I (Judi Dench) asks Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) to write a comedy for the 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.

The play was referenced in the movie V For Vendetta. The character V quotes: "Conceal me what I am, and be my aid... for such disguise as haply shall become the form of my intent" as he's dancing with Evey.


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 AwardGreer Garson. As the performance was transmitted live from the BBC's studios at Alexandra Palace and the technology to record television programmes did not at the time exist, no visual record survives other than still photographs.[36]

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 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 featuredJoan Plowright as Viola and Sebastian, Alec Guinness as Malvolio, Ralph Richardson as Sir Toby Belch and Tommy Steeleas an unusually prominent Feste.

Yet another TV adaptation followed in 1980. This version was part of the BBC Television Shakespeare series and featuredFelicity Kendal in the role of Viola, Sinéad Cusack as Olivia, Alec McCowen as Malvolio and Robert Hardy as Sir Toby Belch.

In 1988, Kenneth Branagh's stage production of the play, starring Frances Barber as Viola and Richard Briers as Malvolio,was adapted for Thames Television.

In 1998 the Lincoln Center Theater production directed by Nicholas Hytner was broadcast on PBS Live From Lincoln Center. It starred Helen Hunt as Viola, Paul Rudd as Orsino, 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 as Viola and 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.


In 1937 an adaptation was performed on the CBS Radio Playhouse starring Orson Welles as Orsino and 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 as Orsino, Wendy Murray as Viola, Norman Rodway as Sir Toby Belch, Andrew Sachs as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Bernard Heptonas Malvolio; in 1993, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a version of the play (set on a Caribbean Island), with 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 as Malvolvio and Ron Cook as Sir Toby Belch.


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.


The Danish philosopher 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 (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 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 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 are twins called Sebastian and Viola.

Clive Barker's short story "Sex, Death and Starshine" revolves around a doomed production of Twelfth Night.


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

  • Jump up^ "Shakespeare, having tackled the theatrical problems of providing 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." Thomson, Peter. Shakespeare's Theater. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983, p. 94. ISBN 0-710-09480-9.

  • Jump up^ Torbarina, J. "The Setting of Shakespeare's Plays."Studia Romanica et Anglica Zagrabiensia, 17–18 (1964).

  • Jump up^ Donno, Elizabeth Story, editor. Twelfth Night, or, What You Will. Updated ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 7.

  • Jump up^ Caldecott, Henry Stratford (1896). Our English Homer, or, The Bacon-Shakespeare Controversy: A Lecture. Johannesburg: Johannesburg Times. p. 9.OCLC 83492745.

  • ^ Jump up to:a b Halliday, F. E. (1964). A Shakespeare Companion 1564–1964 (First ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin. pp. 71, 505. OCLC 69117982.

  • Jump up^ Laroque, François. Shakespeare's Festive World: Elizabethan Seasonal Entertainment and the Professional Stage. Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 153.

  • Jump up^ Laroque, p. 227.

  • Jump up^ Laroque, p. 254.

  • Jump up^ Clayton, Thomas. "Shakespeare at The Guthrie: Twelfth Night" in Shakespeare Quarterly 36.3 (Autumn 1985), p. 354.

  • ^ Jump up to: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.

  • Jump up^ 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.

  • Jump up^ Lothian and Craik, p. 30.

  • Jump up^ Righter, Anne. Shakespeare and the Idea of the Play. Chatto & Windus, 1962, p. 130.

  • Jump up^ Righter, p. 136.

  • Jump up^ Righter, p. 133.

  • Jump up^ 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.

  • Jump up^ Weimann, p. 43.

  • Jump up^ 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.

  • Jump up^ Griffin, Alice (1966). The Sources of Ten Shakespearean Plays (First ed.). New York: T.Y. Crowell. OCLC 350534.

  • Jump up^ Shakespeare, William; Smith, Bruce R. (2001). Twelfth Night: Texts and Contexts. Boston: Bedford/St Martin's. p. 2. ISBN 0-312-20219-9.

  • Jump up^ Charles, Casey. "Gender Trouble in Twelfth Night."Theatre Journal. Vol. 49, No. 2 (1997): 123.

  • ^ Jump up to:a b Charles, p. 124.

  • Jump up^ Smith, Bruce R. "Introduction." Twelfth Night. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001.

  • Jump up^ Hotson, Leslie (1954). The First Night of Twelfth Night(First ed.). New York: Macmillan. OCLC 353282.

  • Jump up^ The production was extensively reviewed by Thomas Clayton, "Shakespeare at The Guthrie: Twelfth Night" forShakespeare Quarterly 36.3 (Autumn 1985:353–359).

  • Jump up^ Gay, Penny. As She Likes It: Shakespeare's Unruly Heroines. London: Routledge, 1994, p. 15.

  • Jump up^ Gay, Penny: pp. 18-20.

  • Jump up^ Gay, Penny, p. 30.

  • Jump up^ Gay, Penny, p. 34.

  • Jump up^ Costa, Maddy (20 October 2009). "Malvolio – the killjoy the stars love to play". The Guardian. Retrieved17 November 2012.

  • Jump up^ 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.

  • Jump up^ 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.

  • Jump up^ "Epiphany (Star, 1999) Epiphany (Bow Shakespeare Series #8)". Retrieved11 December 2010.

  • Jump up^ "Twelfth Night: Or What You Will (1996)". Foster on Film. Retrieved 11 December 2010.

  • Jump up^ Vahimagi, Tise; British Film Institute (1994). British Television: An Illustrated Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN 0-19-818336-4.


  • Donno, Elizabeth Story (ed.): Twelfth Night (Cambridge, 2003)

  • Mahood, M. M. (ed.) Twelfth Night (Penguin, 1995)

  • Pennington, Michael: Twelfth Night: a user's guide (New York, 2000)

  • Mulherin, Jennifer: Twelfth Night (Shakespeare for Everyone)

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