The Topic:                    William                    ShakespeareEasier - William Shakespeare was born in 1564 into a m...
Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Churchtwo days after his death. The epitaph carved into the ston...
All that glisters is not goldPrince of Morocco:"All that glisters is not gold."The Merchant of Venice (II, vii)Portia is a...
Duke Orsino:If music be the food of love, play on,Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,The appetite may sicken, and so di...
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars Cassius: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that ...
To sleep, perchance to dreamHamlet:"To sleep, perchance to dream-ay, theres the rub."Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)This is part of...
HamletThe Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or moresimply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believ...
TO BE OR NOT TO BE Hamlet: To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings ...
So wise so young, they say do never live longRichard:"So wise so young, they say do never live long."King Richard III (III...
Juliet:"Whats in a name? That which we call a roseBy any other name would smell as sweet."Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)Ro...
ROMEO AND JULIETINTRODUCTIONThe tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous love stories of alltime. It was know...
Love looks not with the eyes but with the mindHelena:"Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind."A Midsummer Nights D...
Macbeth:To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,To the last syllable of recorded...
Othello SummaryOthello Summary provides a quick review of the plays plotincluding every important action in the play. Othe...
justice for what he believes Othello has done to his fair Desdemona.The Duke is in council with several senators discussin...
Desdemona to Roderigo, Iago slyly explains.Othello finally arrives to everyones great relief. Iago decides to tellOthello ...
Emilia tells Cassio that she can arrange a meeting with Desdemona.Some time later, Cassio speaks with a very sympathetic D...
found.Desdemona now tries to change the subject to Cassio, but Othellocontinually stresses the value the handkerchief has ...
Lodovico arrives, announcing that Othello is to return home andCassio is to be the next Governor of Cypress. Desdemonas jo...
and worldly Emilia would for the right price...Act V.Iago and Roderigo wait in a street to ambush Cassio. Iago tellsRoderi...
in, revealing Iago has killed Roderigo and Desdemona who wasthought dead, murmurs her last breaths but loyally does not sa...
Twelfth Night SummaryTwelfth Night Summary provides a quick review of the plays plot including everyimportant action in th...
old and lacking in wit.Olivia gives us an insight into Malvolios character by saying that he suffers from self-love or is ...
Lady Olivia may not love him but Orsino refuses to even accept such a possibility.Cesario (Viola) remarks on the unreliabi...
what the situation and makes crude, lustful interpretations of Olivias words.Malvolio makes his famous "Some are born grea...
private chapel. Olivia explains that their now secret marriage will be revealed later...Act V.In the final scene, chaos en...
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All that glisters is not gold

  1. 1. The Topic: William ShakespeareEasier - William Shakespeare was born in 1564 into a middle-class family.His father was a glove maker in the small market-town of Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1590, the young actor and writer moved to London. He became themost famous playwright of his time for his poetry and more than 37 plays,including tragedies, comedies, and history.Harder - William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is known as the greatestdramatist the world has ever known, the finest poet who wrote in the Englishlanguage, and the worlds most popular author. His poetry and plays remainin print today in numerous languages and his dramatic works continue to beperformed around the world.People analyze Shakespeares life and works to understand his long-lastingand broad appeal. Many Shakespeare scholars credit his continued appealand fame to two related characteristics; his deep understanding of humannature and a broad knowledge base that encompassed varied interests andfields of study. Both of these attributes contributed to his development ofvivid and varied characters from many walks of life and his creative use oflanguage. Shakespeares knowledge included music, law, the Bible, militaryscience, politics, the sea, history, hunting, woodcraft, sports, and theater. Inhis literary works, he wrote of Kings, drunkards, generals, pickpockets,shepherds, hired killers and thugs, and philosophers. His understanding ofpeople and their nature enabled him to create dramatic characters whosestruggles and often failures extended beyond the setting of his plays. 1
  2. 2. Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Churchtwo days after his death. The epitaph carved into the stone slabcovering his grave includes a curse against moving his bones,which was carefully avoided during restoration of the church in2008:Shakespeares grave. Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare, To digg the dvst encloased heare. Bleste be ye man yt spares thes stones, And cvrst be he yt moves my bones.Modern spelling: "Good friend, for Jesus sake forbear," "To dig the dust enclosed here." "Blessed be the man that spares these stones," "And cursed be he who moves my bones."Sometime before 1623, a funerary monument was erected in hismemory on the north wall, with a half-effigy of him in the act ofwriting. Its plaque compares him to Nestor, Socrates, and Virgil. In1623, in conjunction with the publication of the First Folio, theDroeshout engraving was published.Shakespeare has been commemorated in many statues andmemorials around the world, including funeral monuments inSouthwark Cathedral and Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey. 2
  3. 3. All that glisters is not goldPrince of Morocco:"All that glisters is not gold."The Merchant of Venice (II, vii)Portia is a beautiful, virtuous, wealthy woman who is being wooedby numerous suitors. She is not free to decide on her own whomshe will marry because her late father stipulated in his will that shemust marry the man who correctly picks the one casket (out ofthree) that contains her picture. One casket is gold, another issilver, and the third is made of lead. The Prince of Morocco is onein a long line of suitors who tries to win Portias hand, and hedecides that it would demean Portia to have her picture in anythingother than a gold casket, and so he chooses that one. As he unlocksit, he is dismayed to find a picture, not of Portia but of Death, witha message written in its hollow eye: "All that glisters is not gold; /Often have you heard that told. / Many a man his life hath sold /But my outside to behold. / Gilded tombs do worms enfold." Witha grieving heart the Prince takes hasty leave of Portia, who is happyto see him go, saying, "A gentle riddance."Themes: courtshipSpeakers: Prince of Morocco 3
  4. 4. Duke Orsino:If music be the food of love, play on,Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,The appetite may sicken, and so die.Twelfth Night Act 1, scene 1, 1–3Duke Orsino of Illyria, presiding over the merry, mixed-up worldof Twelfth Night, opens the play with these festive sentiments,soured though they be by the affected airs of the melancholic lover.He has convinced himself that hes insanely in love with a wealthyand resistant lady, who is in mourning for her brother and onlyannoyed by Orsinos inappropriate attentions. The dukes idea of acure for his disease is to stuff himself sick with his own passions.Orsinos brand of self-indulgent pouting comes in for much ribbinghere and elsewhere in Shakespeare, most vividly in As You Like Itand Much Ado about Nothing. For melancholic poseurs likeOrsino, who are actually expected to make spectacles ofthemselves, affecting gestures are more important than sincereemotions.Themes: music, romance, unrequited loveSpeakers: Duke Orsino 4
  5. 5. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars Cassius: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)Cassius, a nobleman, is speaking with his friend, Brutus, and tryingto persuade him that, in the best interests of the public, JuliusCaesar must be stopped from becoming monarch of Rome. Brutusis aware of Caesars intentions, and is torn between his love of hisfriend Caesar and his duty to the republic. Cassius continues byreminding Brutus that Caesar is just a man, not a god, and that theyare equal men to Caesar. They were all born equally free, and sowhy would they suddenly have to bow to another man? On anotherlevel this phrase has been interpreted to mean that fate is not whatdrives men to their decisions and actions, but rather the humancondition.Themes: fate and fortune, deception, loyalty, friendshipSpeakers: Cassius 5
  6. 6. To sleep, perchance to dreamHamlet:"To sleep, perchance to dream-ay, theres the rub."Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)This is part of Hamlets famous soliloquy which begins "To be ornot to be", and it reveals his thoughts of suicide. He has learnedthat his uncle killed his father, the late King, and married the kingswife, his mother. This foul deed has driven Hamlet nearly mad, andhe seeks both revenge and the escape of death. He has beendisconsolate since learning of the murder, from the ghost of hisdead father. In this scene, he ponders suicide, "To die, to sleep-/Nomore." But he is tortured with the fear that there might not be peaceeven in death. "For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, /When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, /Must give us pause."Hamlets moral and mental anguish is at its height in this soliloquy,which is the emotional centerpiece of the play.Themes: death and sickness, suicide, dreamsSpeakers: Hamlet 6
  7. 7. HamletThe Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or moresimply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed tohave been written between 1599 and 1601. The play, set in theKingdom of Denmark, recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revengeon his uncle Claudius for murdering the old King Hamlet,Claudiuss brother and Prince Hamlets father, and then succeedingto the throne and marrying Gertrude, the King Hamlets widow andmother of Prince Hamlet. The play vividly portrays real andfeigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—andexplores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moralcorruption.Three different early versions of the play have survived: these areknown as the First Quarto (Q1), the Second Quarto (Q2) and theFirst Folio (F1). Each has lines, and even scenes, that are missingfrom the others. Shakespeare based Hamlet on the legend ofAmleth, preserved by 13th-century chronicler Saxo Grammaticusin his Gesta Danorum as subsequently retold by 16th-centuryscholar François de Belleforest. He may have also drawn on, orperhaps written, an earlier (hypothetical) Elizabethan play knowntoday as the Ur-Hamlet. 7
  8. 8. TO BE OR NOT TO BE Hamlet: To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep, No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to: tis a consummation Devoutly to be wishd. To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, theres the rub: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause—theres the respect That makes calamity of so long life. For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, Thoppressors wrong, the proud mans contumely, The pangs of disprizd love, the laws delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of thunworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied oer with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pitch and moment With this regard their currents turn awry And lose the name of action.Hamlet Act 3, scene 1, 55–87 [Italics mine] 8
  9. 9. So wise so young, they say do never live longRichard:"So wise so young, they say do never live long."King Richard III (III, i, 79)In one of the most moving scenes in this play, the evil Richard isplanning the most foul act in his plot to make himself king ofEngland. He has already had his brother Clarence murdered. Hisother brother, King Edward, is dead, and Richard has been madeLord Protector of Edwardss two young sons: Edward, Prince ofWales (and next in line as king) and Richard, Duke of York. Thetwo boys have arrived in London for the Crown Princescoronation. Until now, Richards murders have been of adults, buthere he shows that he is just as capable of dispatching children.Richard tells the Crown Prince that he and his brother will reside inthe Tower until the coronation, a suggestion that Prince Edwarddislikes but agrees to. In an aside, Richard declares "So wise soyoung, they say do never live long." The Crown Prince asks "Whatsay you, uncle?" Richard replies, "Without characters, fame liveslong." The brothers, of course, will be murdered in the tower afterRichard usurps the crown for himself.Themes: death and sickness, murder and assassination, evil, plotsSpeakers: Richard 9
  10. 10. Juliet:"Whats in a name? That which we call a roseBy any other name would smell as sweet."Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet meet and fall in love inShakespeares lyrical tale of "star-crossd" lovers. They are doomedfrom the start as members of two warring families. Here Juliet tellsRomeo that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention, andthat she loves the person who is called "Montague", not theMontague name and not the Montague family. Romeo, out of hispassion for Juliet, rejects his family name and vows, as Juliet asks,to "deny (his) father" and instead be "new baptized" as Julietslover. This one short line encapsulates the central struggle andtragedy of the play.Themes: love, family, beautySpeakers: Juliet 10
  11. 11. ROMEO AND JULIETINTRODUCTIONThe tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous love stories of alltime. It was known and told as prose, poetry, and drama many times beforeShakespeare wrote his play, and there have been many versions since.The reasons for the success of the basic story are that it spans so many of theessential elements in human life-falling in love, conflict, death; it includesmany characters with whom we can identify-the young lovers, the helpfulNurse, the villain, the dominant father; it raise our basic human emotions-laughter, fear, joy, anger, sorrow.Shakespeare’s working of the story makes a masterpiece from an alreadysuccessful basis. We become deeply involved in what is happening, not onlybecause of the way in which the plot is presented, but also because of theskilful development of characters and because Shakespeare has used thestory to present us with complex insights into the nature of love, conflict,death and fate.The plot is one of constant action, erupting on to the stage with an excitingfight, then straight away involving us in the plight of the lovers and how theyare drawn together. The scene where Romeo first meets Juliet is delicatelyand sensitively handled , as in the balcony scene where they exchange lovevows. Almost immediately they are married, and thereafter the love storyturns into a tragedy which we – but not the lovers- know cannot be stopped.The intended marriage to Paris leads Juliet’s horrific drinking of the potion,and one mishap after another leads to the final act of the tragedy. The climax,the double suicide, stirs emotion in a way that few another dramatic endingscan.The characters presented here also add to our involvement in the play. Theyoung, innocent lovers raise our sympathy for their youth and tragic end.Tybalt, the villain, is a constant threat. The support of the Nurse and the Friaris a source of comfort-until it goes wrong. Juliet’s parents stir our resentmentand we love the bright energy of Mercutio, feeling his loss as Romeo does.We see many different aspects of love: romantic, bawdy, maternal, material.We see conflict examined through the family feud, the conflict ofgenerations, the personal conflict between individuals. All these elements-theplot, the people involved and the themes examined-are presented byShakespeare in a form that increases the effect of the drama on us. 11
  12. 12. Love looks not with the eyes but with the mindHelena:"Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind."A Midsummer Nights Dream (I, i, 234)In this soliloquy, Helena ponders the transforming power of love,noting that Cupid is blind. The lovesick Helena has beenabandoned by her beloved Demetrius, because he loves the moreattractive Hermia. Helena, while tall and fair, is not as lovely asHermia. Helena finds it unfair that Demetrius dotes on Hermiasbeauty, and she wishes appearances were contagious the way asickness is so that she might look just like Hermia and win backDemetrius. The connection of love to eyesight and vision arematters of vital importance in this play about love and theconfusion it sometimes brings.Themes: love, beautySpeakers: Helena 12
  13. 13. Macbeth:To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,To the last syllable of recorded time;And all our yesterdays have lighted foolsThe way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!Lifes but a walking shadow, a poor player,That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,And then is heard no more. It is a taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and fury,Signifying nothing.Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28After hearing that his wife has died, Macbeth takes stock of hisown indifference to the event. Death—our return to dust—seems tohim merely the last act of a very bad play, an idiots tale full ofbombast and melodrama ("sound and fury"), but without meaning("signifying nothing"). Murdering King Duncan and seizing histhrone in retrospect seem like scenes of a script Macbeth was neversuited to play. The idea that "all the worlds a stage" is occasionallyvery depressing to Shakespeares heroes."To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow"—along with theother phrases culled from this lode of Bardisms—conveys themechanical beat of time as it carries this poor player-king fromscene to scene. "The last syllable of recorded time"—what Macbethearlier called "the crack of doom" [see p. 25]—casts time as asequence of words, as in a script; history becomes a dramaticrecord. If life is like a bad play, it is thus an illusion, a mereshadow cast by a "brief candle." The candle is perhaps the soul, andthe prospects for Macbeths are grim.Themes: war, fate and fortune, suicide, timeSpeakers: Macbeth 13
  14. 14. Othello SummaryOthello Summary provides a quick review of the plays plotincluding every important action in the play. Othello Summary isdivided by the five acts of the play and is an an ideal introductionbefore reading the original text.Act I.Shakespeares famous play of love turned bad by unfounded jealousy,begins in Venice with Iago, a soldier under Othellos commandarguing with Roderigo, a wealthy Venetian. Roderigo has paid Iago aconsiderable sum of money to spy on Othello for him, since he wishesto take Othellos girlfriend, Desdemona as his own.Roderigo fears that Iago has not been telling him enough aboutDesdemona and that this proves Iagos real loyalty is to Othello nothim.Iago explains his hatred of Othello for choosing Cassio as his officeror lieutenant and not him as he expected.To regain Roderigos trust, Iago and Roderigo inform Brabantio,Desdemonas father of her relationship with Othello, the "Moor"which enrages Brabantio into sending parties out at night to apprehendOthello for what must obviously be in Brabantios eyes, an abuse ofhis daughter by Othello...Iago lies that Roderigo and not himself, was responsible for angeringBrabantio against Othello, Iago telling Othello that he should watchout for Brabantios men who are looking for him.Othello decides not to hide, since he believes his good name will standhim in good stead.We learn that Othello has married Desdemona. Brabantio andRoderigo arrive, Brabantio accusing Othello of using magic on hisdaughter.Othello stops a fight before it can happen but Othello is called away todiscuss a crisis in Cypress, much to the anger of Brabantio who wants 14
  15. 15. justice for what he believes Othello has done to his fair Desdemona.The Duke is in council with several senators discussing their enemy,the Turks (Turkish people). Brabantio complains to the Duke thatOthello bewitched his daughter and had intimate relations with her.Desdemona is brought in to settle the matter, Othello meanwhileexplains how he and Desdemona fell in love. Desdemona confirmsthis and the Duke advises Brabantio that he would be better offaccepting the marriage than complaining and changing nothing.The Duke orders Othello to Cypress to fight the Turks, withDesdemona to follow, accompanied by the trusted Iago.Roderigo despairs that his quest for Desdemona is over now that she ismarried, but Iago tells him not to give up and earn money instead;soon Desdemona will bore of Othello.Alone, Iago reveals his intention to continue using Roderigo formoney and his hatred of Othello (Othello picked Cassio and not Iagofor his lieutenant).Iago explains that his plan is avenge Othello is to suggest to Othellothat Cassio is sleeping with Desdemona (Othellos wife).Act II.Several weeks later in Cypress, Montano and several others areawaiting Othellos arrival by bark or ship. We learn that a terriblestorm has largely battered and destroyed the Turkish fleet, which nolonger poses a threat to Cypress. Unfortunately there are fears that thissame storm drowned Othello as well.Montano reveals his high praise of Othello, which is shared by many.Cassio, who has arrived, sings Desdemonas praises. A ship is spottedbut it is Desdemona and Iagos not Othellos. Iago suspects that Cassioloves Desdemona and slyly uses it to his advantage.Iago tells Roderigo that he still has a chance with Desdemona butCassio whom Desdemona could love is in the way. Killing Cassio(who became Othellos lieutenant instead of Iago) will leave 15
  16. 16. Desdemona to Roderigo, Iago slyly explains.Othello finally arrives to everyones great relief. Iago decides to tellOthello that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemonas so Iago willbe rewarded whilst Cassio will be punished.A Herald announces celebration that "our noble general Othello!" hasdefeated the Turkish fleet, calling on all to celebrate this great triumphand also to celebrate Othellos "nuptial" or wedding to the fairDesdemona.Iago learns more of Cassios high regard for Desdemona and Iagomanipulates Cassio into drinking too much since he is certain Cassiowill do something he will regret.With Cassio gone, Iago tells Montano of Cassios drinking problemturning Montanos high regard for Cassio into dust. Iago also tellsRoderigo to attack Cassio. This happens, and Cassio wounds Roderigoand then Montano who was trying to break up the fight.Othello is now awake and Cassios name ruined.Othello though he loves Cassio, has no choice but to demote him fromhis position as his lieutenant. Next Iago comforts Cassio by suggestinghe speak with Desdemona who could put in a good word for him withOthello.Iago comforts a wounded Roderigo, telling him he has won by ruiningCassios name. Iago has his wife Emilia ensure Desdemona and Cassiowill talk so Othello can see his wife talking with Cassio, allowing Iagoto convince Othello that Desdemona is being unfaithful...Act III.Cassio tells Iago that he has arranged to meet Desdemona, Iagohelping Cassio to do this.Iagos wife, Emilia, tells Cassio that Othello would like to reinstatehim as his lieutenant but the fact that Cassios fight is public news,prevents Othello from doing this immediately. 16
  17. 17. Emilia tells Cassio that she can arrange a meeting with Desdemona.Some time later, Cassio speaks with a very sympathetic Desdemonawho assures him that Othello still very much loves Cassio.Furthermore, Desdemona resolves to keep putting in a good word forCassio until he is again Othellos lieutenant.At a distance, Iago manipulates Othello by first suggesting shock andthen hiding his outbursts from Othello. This guarantees Othellosattention, as Iago plants seeds of doubt in Othellos mind aboutDesdemonas fidelity especially where Cassio is concerned.Iago leaves Othello almost convinced that his wife is having an affairwith Cassio.Othello now complains of a headache to Desdemona, which results inher dropping a strawberry patterned handkerchief, Othellos first giftto her. Emilia picks this up gives it to Iago who decides thehandkerchief could help his manipulation if he ensures Cassio receivesit.Iago arranges to place the handkerchief near Cassios lodgings orhome where he is certain to find it and take it as his own, unaware thatit is Othellos gift to Desdemona.A furious Othello returns to Iago, certain his wife is faithful anddemanding proof from Iago of Desdemonas infidelity.Reluctantly and hesitantly, Iago tells Othello he saw Cassio wipe hisbrow with Desdemonas handkerchief. Othello is convinced, cursinghis wife and telling Iago who is now promoted to lieutenant to killCassio. Othello will deal with Desdemona...Desdemona worries about her missing handkerchief and commentsthat if she lost it, it could lead Othello doubting her fidelity. Emiliawhen asked about Desdemonas lost handkerchief, lies, denyinghaving seen the handkerchief she picked up and gave to Iago.Othello enters; asking Desdemona for the very same handkerchief andDesdemona assures him that the handkerchief is not lost and will be 17
  18. 18. found.Desdemona now tries to change the subject to Cassio, but Othellocontinually stresses the value the handkerchief has to him, this leadingto Othello angrily ordering his wife away.Cassio arrives, Desdemona telling him that her attempts to help himare not going well. Iago claims total ignorance to the cause ofOthellos fury.Cassio gives Othellos handkerchief, which he found, to his suspiciousmistress Bianca who reluctantly starts to copy its patterning(presumably its strawberry motif / design) for him.Act IV.Iago fans the flames of Othellos distrust and fury with Desdemonassupposed "infidelity" by first suggesting Desdemona shared her bedwith Cassio and then that her giving away the handkerchief is no bigdeal when Iago knows exactly how hurtful to Othello, giving awaythis sentimental gift is.Next Iago suggests to Othello that Cassio will "blab" or gloat to othersabout his conquest of Desdemona before telling Othello that Cassioboasted to him that he did indeed sleep with Desdemona.Meeting later with Cassio, Iago cunningly talks to Cassio aboutCassios mistress Bianca, each smile and each gesture made by Cassioinfuriating a hidden Othello who thinks Cassio is talking aboutsleeping with Desdemona (Othellos wife).Next Bianca (Cassios mistress) arrives, angrily giving back thehandkerchief Cassio gave to her.This infuriates Othello since as Iago puts it, Cassio not only receivedOthellos handkerchief from his wife but then gave it away to hiswhore (Bianca) as if it were worthless.Othello decides to kill Desdemona by strangulation in her bed, Iagosidea. Iago pledges to kill Cassio. 18
  19. 19. Lodovico arrives, announcing that Othello is to return home andCassio is to be the next Governor of Cypress. Desdemonas joy forCassio enrages Othello, leaving Lodovico and Iago to wonder howmuch Othello seems to have changed and leaving poor Desdemona towonder how she offended the man she truly loves...Othello questions Emilia as to whether Desdemona was unfaithful tohim. Annoyed that Emilias answers suggest nothing has happenedbetween Desdemona and Cassio, Othello dismisses her comments asthose of a simple woman.Othello meets Desdemona, Desdemona becoming increasingly upsetwith her husbands anger towards her, an anger she cannot understand.Othello eventually reveals to Desdemona that her infidelity is thesource of his anger, Desdemona pleading her innocence on deaf ears.Emilia and Desdemona discuss Othellos strange behavior. Emilia iscertain some evil fellow has twisted Othello to believe Desdemona hasbeen unfaithful, not realizing that this evil man is her own husbandIago.We learn that Iago has been pocketing Roderigos gifts to Desdemona,which never reached her. Fearing Roderigo will learn this, Iago tellsRoderigo that Cassio must die since Iago benefits if ever man dies.Lodovico tries to calm Othello down. Othello orders Desdemona tobed to await him later, an order Desdemona dutifully obeys out of lovefor Othello.Emilia notices that Othello is much calmer now and tells Desdemonaher bed has been made with her wedding sheets as requested.Desdemona asks to be buried in those same sheets should she diebefore Emilia, a hint of trouble ahead (Foreshadowing).Emilia is barred from joining Desdemona in her bedchamber, angeringher. Desdemona, depressed, recalls a song (The Willow Song) of amaid who was similarly abused by her husband and sings it.Desdemona and Emilia talk about infidelity. Desdemona would not beunfaithful to her husband (Othello) for all the world; the more cynical 19
  20. 20. and worldly Emilia would for the right price...Act V.Iago and Roderigo wait in a street to ambush Cassio. Iago tellsRoderigo how to kill him. Iago does not care which ends up dead.Iago is worried that about Roderigos increasing questioning of whathappened to jewels that were given to him to pass on to Desdemona...Roderigo attacks Cassio but Cassio wounds Roderigo instead. Iagofrom behind stabs Cassio, wounding him in the leg. Othello hearingCassios cries is pleased, announcing that he too will soon kill(Desdemona).Lodovico and Gratiano and Iago reappear, Iago claiming totalinnocence to Cassios injuries even though he inflicted them.Seizing Roderigo, Iago stabs and wounds him "in revenge" forwounding his "friend" Cassio.Gratiano and Lodovico tend to Cassios wound. Bianca, Cassiosmistress arrives, Iago cleverly laying suspicion for Cassios injuries onhis innocent mistress, making Iago less suspicious...Othello enters Desdemonas bedchamber (bedroom) trying to convincehimself that he is killing her for her own good. He kisses his stillasleep wife one last time. Desdemona awakens, but Othello will stillkill her, telling her to pray so her soul will not die when she does.Desdemona again asks what wrong she has committed, Othello tellingher that she gave Cassio his handkerchief, by which he means hethinks she had an affair with him.Desdemona pleads her innocence, telling Othello to bring Cassio overto prove she did not give away her handkerchief. Othello says heconfessed and is dead, Desdemonas fear and surprise promptingOthello to believe she does care for him.Othello kills Desdemona.Emilia banging on the door outside cannot stop this. Later Emilia is let 20
  21. 21. in, revealing Iago has killed Roderigo and Desdemona who wasthought dead, murmurs her last breaths but loyally does not sayOthello killed her.Othello tells Emilia he killed her and Emilia despite Iagos attempts toremove her reveals the truth about the handkerchief; she found it, andthen gave it to Iago. Iago now in trouble, stabs his wife Emilia andescapes.Emilia dies, singing the "Willow Song" before criticizing Othello forkilling his loving wife.Lodovico, Montano, Cassio and the now captured prisoner Iago soonappear, Othello stabbing Iago but not killing him before having hissword removed.Lodovico is disappointed that Othello, a man so honorable hasreverted to acting like a slave. Othello tries to argue that killing hiswife was a noble action but it falls on deaf ears.Lodovico learns that Othello and Iago plotted Cassios death.Lodovico reveals letters in the dead Roderigos pocket proving Cassiowas to be killed by Roderigo.Iago proudly confirms that Cassio did find the handkerchief in hisbedchamber because Iago placed it there to be found.Othello, realizing what he has done, kills himself with a concealedweapon and lies himself on top of his wife.Cassio is placed in charge of Iago and Lodovico leaves to discuss thissad matter with others abroad... 21
  22. 22. Twelfth Night SummaryTwelfth Night Summary provides a quick review of the plays plot including everyimportant action in the play. Twelfth Night Summary is divided by the five acts ofthe play and is an ideal introduction before reading the original text.Act I.Orsino, The Duke of Illyria reveals his great love for the rich Countess Olivia who welearn has decided to veil herself for seven years to honor her recently deceased brothersmemory. Profoundly impressed by this, the Duke continues his pursuit of Oliviaundeterred...Viola is introduced to us as a survivor of a shipwreck. Her brother was lost at sea but maynot be dead. Viola learns from the Sea Captain of their doomed ship that they are now inIllyria, which is ruled by Orsino. The Sea Captain explains to Viola that The Duke ofIllyria is pursuing the fair Olivia, a woman who like Viola has lost a brother.Identifying with Olivias grief, Viola wishes to serve Olivia but when she learns this willbe impossible, Viola instead has the Sea Captain disguise her as a boy so she can serveOrsino, The Duke of Illyria.Sir Toby, Olivias cousin is introduced. We quickly discover that he drinks a great deal,keeps late hours and is generally rowdy by nature. Maria, Lady Olivias maid makes thisclear to us in her unsuccessful attempts to quieten Sir Toby down. Maria also revealsOlivias annoyance that Sir Toby has encouraged Sir Andrew Aguecheek to court her.Sir Andrew Aguecheek is now introduced, quickly revealing himself to be rich but ratherdim (unintelligent). Sir Toby has manipulated Sir Andrew into pursuing Olivia so SirToby can continue benefiting from Sir Andrews great wealth.Realizing Olivia will not be courted by him, Sir Andrew makes preparations to leave butSir Toby convinces Sir Andrew to stay a month longer, no doubt so Sir Toby can use SirAndrew and his great wealth further...Viola has successfully disguised herself as a man named Cesario. Her success with Orsinohas been so great that she is now a favorite with Orsino who believes Viola to be the mannamed Cesario. As such, Orsino entrusts Cesario (Viola) to express his love for Olivia.Cesario, (Viola) deeply divided by her own love for Orsino, nonetheless dutifullyrepresents Orsino.Olivias maid is angry with Feste, Olivias Clown. Feste redeems himself with Lady Oliviaby telling her she should not mourn her brother since he is in a better place, namelyheaven. Olivia is pleased, but Olivias uptight steward, Malvolio is not, regarding Feste as 22
  23. 23. old and lacking in wit.Olivia gives us an insight into Malvolios character by saying that he suffers from self-love or is arrogant and vain.Cesario (Viola) petitions Lady Olivia, eventually gaining her audience. Olivia is quitetaken by Cesario but tells him, she cannot return Orsinos affections for her.Olivia would however like to see Cesario (Viola) again, asking him to come back toreport to her how Orsino took the news.Intrigued by Cesario, Olivia sends Malvolio after him to give back a ring Cesario leftbehind as an excuse to express her affection for him...Act II.Sebastian, the twin brother Viola feared had died at sea, has also survived the shipwreck.Like Viola he mourns the loss of his sibling, believing his sister Viola to be dead.Antonio, the man who saved Sebastians life is touched by Sebastians loss and decides tofollow Sebastian to the Duke of Orsinos court even though he has many enemies there.Sebastian nobly tries to talk Antonio out of this, but Antonio is eventually accepted bySebastian to travel with him to the Dukes court.Malvolio catches up with Cesario (Viola), rudely returning Cesarios ring to him. Cesariois confused, he left no such ring at Lady Olivias house. Malvolio also conveys Oliviasdesire that Cesario return to confirm that Orsino has accepted the fact that she does notlove him.Cesario now realizes that the ring is a ploy by Olivia to express her affections for him.Realizing she has charmed Olivia, Cesario remarks that Olivia would do better chasing adream than a man who really is a woman (Viola) in disguise. Cesario is distressed by thismess and hopes time will undo this tangled web.Late at night, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and later Feste the Clown are enjoying some latenight drinking and singing. This gets Marias attention who warns all three men to quietendown lest Malvolio notices.The three men ignore Maria. Malvolio arrives, warning the men that he will speak toOlivia about this noise. The three men ignore him as they did Maria and now Malvoliothreatens to make Maria look disrespectful in Olivias eyes if she does not quieten thesethree men down.Maria, resenting Malvolios heavy-handed arrogance hatches a plan to write a letter,which will convince Malvolio that Olivia loves him. This news quietens down all threemen, who each dislikes Malvolio but now are all enthusiastic accomplices in his downfall.Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Feste will hide near where Malvolio will discover the letter sothey can all enjoy what in their eyes is Malvolios rightly deserved humiliation...Orsino notices that Cesario (Viola) is in love. Cesario describes this person in terms thatprecisely describe Orsino but Orsino does not realize this. Cesario warns the Duke that 23
  24. 24. Lady Olivia may not love him but Orsino refuses to even accept such a possibility.Cesario (Viola) remarks on the unreliability of men in relationships. Cesario starts toreveal "his" own past but quickly becomes vague when Orsino becomes too curious.Orsino sends Cesario once more to Lady Olivia with a large jewel as a token of his lovefor her... Maria tells Fabian, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, all of whom hate Malvolio, thatshe has penned the letter that will convince Malvolio that Lady Olivia loves him.Malvolio, meanwhile having not yet found the letter, starts entertaining the idea thatOlivia could love him and that he could marry her.Malvolio picks up Marias counterfeit letter with its instructions that Malvolio be rude tokinsman like Sir Toby. It also suggests that he wear yellow stockings and be cross-gartered to win Olivias love.Maria explains to Sir Toby and company, that Lady Olivia hates yellow stockings andcross-gartered fashion and so Malvolio will be humiliated before Lady Olivia.Act III.Cesario has another private meeting with Lady Olivia on Duke Orsinos behalf.Sir Toby and Sir Andrew meet Cesario (Viola) and Sir Toby learns from Cesario that hewill soon speak with Lady Olivia. In private, Lady Olivia admits to Cesario that she usedthe ring she sent after him to lure him back to her.Cesario (Viola) tries to put Olivia off him but she is smitten, ignoring all Cesariosattempts to diminish her enthusiasm for "him"...Knowing Lady Olivia will never love him, Sir Andrew prepares to head for home. Thesight of Olivia showing more affection to a youth (Cesario) than him was the last straw.Fabian and Sir Toby dont deny the affectionate display but argue Olivia did it to spur SirAndrew to woo her and regain her respect. Sir Toby and Fabian manipulate Sir Andrewinto writing a challenge to the youth (Cesario) even though they know a fight betweentwo cowards (Cesario and Sir Andrew) is unlikely.Maria enters, telling Sir Toby and Fabian to watch the spectacle that is Malvolio wearingyellow stockings and being cross-gartered.Sebastian has now reluctantly accepted Antonio as his companion in the streets of Illyria.Antonio explains that his offence in Illyria, which was theft, was one the rest of his cityhave repaid but he has not and so he is still wanted in Illyria. Sebastian decides to lookaround, but Antonio fearful of his enemies, decides to head for lodging at a place called"the Elephant." Antonio gives Sebastian his purse (wallet) and directions to this lodgingand the two part their separate ways...Olivia makes plans to once more woo Cesario (Viola). Olivia sees Malvolio with yellowstockings and cross-gartered and considers him mad since he continues to smile no matter 24
  25. 25. what the situation and makes crude, lustful interpretations of Olivias words.Malvolio makes his famous "Some are born great,-" speech.Learning that Cesario has returned, Lady Olivia has Malvolio put into the care of herservants since in her eyes, Malvolios behavior is some "midsummer madness."Sir Toby, Maria and Fabian plot to have Malvolio placed in a "dark room," so they canhave some fun with him. Sir Andrew arrives with his completed letter challengingCesario. Sir Toby decides to verbally scare Cesario and Sir Andrew about their opponentsinstead of sending the letter.Alone with Cesario once more, Lady Olivia makes no progress with Cesario who will notrequit (return) her love. Olivia is undaunted by this. Sir Toby scares both Sir Andrew andCesario into drawing their weapons on each other.Antonio arrives, pledging to fight Sir Andrew on Cesarios (Violas) behalf who he thinksis Sebastian since Viola disguised as a man now looks like her twin brother Sebastian.The fight is stopped but Officers recognizing Antonio, capture him. Antonio asks Cesario(Viola) for his purse back but Cesario not recognizing him does not oblige.Antonio thinks Sebastian has betrayed him, not realizing he has asked Cesario (Viola) forhis purse, not Sebastian.Act IV.Confusion reigns as Sebastian is now mistaken for Cesario when Feste insists Sebastiansent for him and Sebastian is certain he did not (Cesario obviously did).Sir Andrew finds Sebastian and thinking it is Cesario from the earlier "fight" that did nothappen, hits Sebastian. Sebastian unlike Cesario is not afraid to return the favor and afight is only stopped by Sir Tobys intervention. Sir Andrew decides to have Sebastianpunished by the law of Illyria despite the fact that he started the fight.Sir Toby and Sebastian are just about to fight when Olivia screams for her uncle, Sir Tobyto stop. Olivia now scolds Sir Toby, hoping Sebastian, whom she thinks is Cesario(Viola), will forgive her uncle and not be displeased with her.Sebastian, amazed that this beautiful woman he does not know, loves him, replies toOlivia that he will be ruled by her and the two set off to marry immediately...In Olivias house, Malvolio in a darkened room is teased mercilessly by Feste who triesunsuccessfully to convince Malvolio that he is mad.Sir Toby, fearing that his fight with Cesario (actually Sebastian) has put him on thin icewith Olivia, wants Festes teasing of Malvolio to stop. Feste has other ideas but eventuallylets Malvolio write a letter to Olivia proclaiming his sanity...Sebastian can barely believe his luck, a beautiful woman (Olivia) loves him and has givenhim a pearl. Sebastian briefly wonders if he is dreaming before he marries Olivia in a 25
  26. 26. private chapel. Olivia explains that their now secret marriage will be revealed later...Act V.In the final scene, chaos ensues as the identical appearing Cesario (Viola) and Sebastianare each blamed for the others actions. First Feste blames Sebastian for beckoning him,not realizing it was Cesario who called for him.Cesario spots Antonio the man who saved him from fighting Sir Andrew but was takenprisoner by Orsinos officers in Act III. Antonio again asks Cesario for his wallet backthinking he is Sebastian. Cesario (Viola), who does not know Antonio, does not and soAntonio curses him for his betrayal, not realizing he is talking to Cesario not Sebastianwhom he lent his wallet to.We learn that Antonio is an enemy of Illyria and especially of Orsino for plundering hisships as a pirate in the past.Now a prisoner, Antonio baffles Orsino by telling him that he and Cesario (Viola) havebeen together night and day for three weeks when who Antonio is really thinking of isSebastian. Orsino cannot believe this; Cesario has been with him for three weeks.Olivia arrives and we see that Orsino still loves her. The feeling is not mutual... Oliviascolds Cesario (Viola) for neglecting her, revealing that "he" is her husband.Cesario (Viola) amazed by this, pleads "his" innocence to Orsino who "he" truly loves andOrsino thinking his servant betrayed him by taking Olivia for himself, prepares to punishCesario.Olivia meanwhile despairs that her husband Cesario who really is Sebastian, would leavewillingly with Orsino to be punished rather than be with his wife and she too claimsbetrayal by Cesario (Viola).Sebastian arrives, apologizing for attacking Sir Toby and Sir Andrew. Orsino seeing bothCesario and Sebastian together is amazed that he sees two copies of the same man. Oliviatoo is amazed.Sebastian and Cesario compare notes on how they arrived in Illyria each claiming thattheir sibling had drowned.Eventually they realize that since they knew the same father they are indeed brother andsister, Cesario revealing "his" real identity as the woman named Viola.Malvolio storms in and the cruel prank against him is revealed by Fabian who confesses.Orsino calls Olivia his sister, and Orsino takes Cesario for his mistress and we presumelater his wife with Feste ending the play in song. 26

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