A01-Writing correctly: spelling, punctuation, paragraphs, using
quotations as evidence. Using terminology.
A02-Assessing form structure and language.
A03-Interpretations and theories/definitions of comedy. Using
quotes from further reading and evaluating whether they
apply. Using quotes from the Twelfth Night to backup your
A04-Contextual influences-social, historical, political and
literary context. What does the play mean to different
Love as an illusion or farce
Does Shakespeare show
love as an illusion and
Love: According to the Greeks
Agape-Love for humanity.
When I am with you, we stay up all night,
When you're not here, I can't get to sleep.
Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.
Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.
Exposition of the Twelfth Night
How does Orsino feel in the opening?
How does Shakespeare use language to show
How does this setup the potential for comedy?
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
Methought she purged the air of pestilence!
That instant was I turn'd into a hart;
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E'er since pursue me.
Orsino is a stock character of the youth in
love/spurned youth/obsessed lover.
Represents unrequited love.
Shakespeare subverts the lover‟s blazon.
A04: Shakespeare is mocking the sonneteers of the time who used to
exaggerate with language their love-Grant
This is emphasised in Olivia‟s reply at the end of Act 1, scene 5:
“I will give out divers schedules of my beauty. It shall be inventoried;
and every particle and utensil labelled to my will as, item, two lips,
indifferent red, item two grey eyes with lids to them; item one neck,
one chin and so forth”
A03: Link to feminism
What is feminism?
How are women portrayed in literature?
Are they a positive female stereotype?
they stay indoors and are protected.
Are they a negative female stereotype?
They are portrayed as loose or immoral?
Women are portrayed as:
Women were idolised in Shakespeare‟s time and
Represented through beauty.
Orsino idolises Olivia.
His language shows his first love as a farce.
Link to structure
Use of iambic pentameter-reflects the rhythm of the
Contrast Orsino’s speech to Viola’s love
She never told her love, but let concealment like a
worm I‟the bud feed on her damask cheek. She pined
And what‟s her history?
A blank m‟lord.
Viola speaks of unexpressed pain which festers and
Viola’s love for Orsino
I'll do my best
To woo your lady:
yet, a barful strife!
Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife.
According to Viola
We men say more, swear more but
indeed our shows are more than will
for still we prove much in our vows but
little in our love.
Foreshadowing of Viola’s marriage
“I have heard my father name him”.
Why does Viola dress up as a man? Consider the context.
How would the Elizabethan audience view this?
How would today‟s audience view this? Does it create as
What would feminists suggest about the above? Is she a
positive female stereotype or a negative female stereotype?
And where comic women choose their
own husbands free from parental
control, they seem to choose exactly
the husbands their father would have
chosen for them
Shakespeare‟s comic heroines assert themselves
to be sure, but their spirited agency is directed
towards the most normative of female destinies,
marriage. We can be sure if any woman in a
Shakespeare comedy asserts that she does not
want a husband, the plot will contort itself to make
sure she gets one….
The potential homoerotic quality of this speech is added
to by the fact that an Elizabethan audience would have
heard these words addressed to a boy actor playing the
part of a young woman dressed as a young man…it
might have been a rather unsettling one for
Shakespeare‟s audience given that at the time,
homosexual relations between men were punishable by
But does Orsino really love Viola
He continues calling Viola Cesario at the end of
For so you shall be, while you are a man;
But when in other habits you are seen,
Orsino's mistress and his fancy's queen.
Religious Context-Stubbes 1583
Our apparel was given us as a sign distinctive to
discern between sex and sex and therefore one
to wear the apparel of another sex is to
participate with the same and to adulterate the
verity of his own kind.
1599-all men are abominations that put on
Modern Audience point of view and
What you will
1. Orsino shows that he is attracted to Viola when she
2. Shakespeare‟s comedies have great fun with cross-dressing and
flirt with the homosexual desiarbility of the transvestite actor: Orsino
and Olivia are both drawn to the androgynously sexy Viola in
Twelfth Night givinv the play‟s subtitle, “what you will” a saucy hint
of „anything goes‟ (Smith page 11)
Tyson 2013-link to religious context.
One might think, because of her use of disguise that Viola
also conforms to the idea that women were born
deceivers…only the appearance of her brother allows her
deception to go unpunished. However Viola‟s deception
never threatens any harm to anyone other than herselfher yearning for Orsino makes her suffer and threatens her
happiness and even then there are strong intimations that
we are in a comic world rather than heading for a tragic
conclusion brought on by female untrustworthiness.
Shakespeare‟s comedies seem to challenge
conservative orthodoxies and present
themselves as socially transgressive (Smith 2012).
Questions sexual identity and themes of sexuality in
a literary text.
Antonio and Sebastian
1. Antonio rescues Sebastian
2. Antonio doesn‟t know Sebastian
3. He becomes anxious for Sebastian
4. He follows Sebastian and endangers himself as Orsino
is his enemy.
5. Antonio confronts Cesario thinking she is Sebastian.
1. Viola and Olivia
2. Sebastian and Antonio
Viola and Olivia
Olivia chases Viola when she is Cesario
Olivia praises Viola’s beauty.
Olivia proposes to Sebastian.
Questions to consider
Is Olivia drawn to Cesario‟s attempts to
imitate her brother; in love with a version of
Sebastian before she meets (and marries)
him? Or is there a homoerotic aspect to her
passion? She has rejected the courtship of
the ruling and authoritative duke and fallen
in love with the feminine messenger (Bickley).
Is Olivia a positive female stereotype
Is her love a farce?
“ Most excellent”. When she realises that
Cesario and Sebastian are twins.
Why does Sebastian agree to marry her?
My desire/more sharped than filed steel, did spur
me forth…hold sir here‟s my purse.”
But O how vile an idol proves this god
Thou hast, Sebastian, done good feature
In nature there's no blemish but the mind;
None can be call'd deform'd but the unkind:
Virtue is beauty, but the beauteous evil
Are empty trunks o'erflourish'd by the devil.
The subplot involves Malvolio being
tricked into thinking Olivia is in love with
Why is he tricked: He is arrogant. He
calls Feste „a barren rascal‟ and stops
Toby and Feste from celebrating.
Malvolio represents the puritan
Elizabethans disliked Puritans.
Shakespeare is also having „a dig‟ at
puritans. They disliked the theatre, excess
alcohol and celebrations. They were
generally disliked particularly by the
theatre audience-the prank becomes
He believes Olivia has written him.
“To be count Malvolio”-Does he really
love Olivia or her status?
Is he guilty of lust? One of the seven
deadly sins-Is Shakespeare showing
puritans as hypocritical?
What about pride?
Do you feel sorry for Malvolio?
Like them (Olivia and Orsino) he aspires towards an
illusory ideal of love, but his mistake is grosser than
theirs and his posturings more extravagant and
grotesque…His fate may seem harsh, but it is part of
the ethical scheme of comedy that those who
cannot perceive their own faults are exposed and
punished for their folly. McCulloch 2001
Even at the height of his fantasy of being Olivia‟s
husband, his dreams are all of his own
“seven of my people, with an obedient start, make
out for him. I frown the while and perchance wind
up my watch, or play with my-some rich jewel.
Does Malvolio have a resolution?
The resolution of comedies is
marriage. Malvolio states “I‟ll be
revenged on the whole pack of
you”. Suggests Malvolio can only
Sir Toby and Maria.
Structural Device of Mirroring.
Olivia at the start of the play is still mourning her brother‟s death-he
died seven years ago and she still refuses to marry.
Viola thinks her brother has died but she disguises herself as her
Is her disguise her way of mourning her brother‟s death or of
keeping her brother alive
“I my brother know yet living in my glass. Even such and so in favour
was my brother and he went still in this fashion, colour ornament, for
him I imitate.”
The purpose of comedy:
To correct the mistakes of people in a humorous
To ensure characters learn a lesson.
Frye: Old World, Green World and New World.
A02 Form: Disguise was a key feature of
Disguise creates disorder.
The purpose of comedy is to suspend the rules of
Bakhtin: comedies are “life turned inside out”
“All distance between people is suspended, there is
free and familiar contact between people”