Before we begin our cross-dressing, x-mas/New Year celebration...let's read Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
To start, take a virtual tour of Shakespeare's globe. Visit the Globe in London from the attached site below. View the staging area and gain information about what plays were like in Shakespeare's day. Revisit after class to see more.
Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night near the middle of his career, probably in the year 1601. Most critics consider it one of his greatest comedies. Twelfth Night is a comedy about illusion, deception, disguises, madness, and the extraordinary things that love will cause us to do.
The holiday for which the title refers (“Twelfth Night”) is usually considered to be a reference to the Feast of the Epiphany, or the twelfth night of the Christmas celebration (January 6, or for us this includes the 12 days from the Solstice on Dec. 21 to our New Year (January 1)). In Shakespeare’s day, this holiday was celebrated as a festival in which everything was turned upside down—much like the upside-down, chaotic world of Illyria in the play. The epiphany included a "King for a Day" concept in which a fool would become King...but only for a day. The celebration was known for its large quantity of drinking and merry-making (Merry Christmas, for example...)
I'll take you through the first part of the play as far as I can before our winter break.
For submission for next class, please complete reading through Act 2, and answer the following reading/comprehension questions:
1. What is the dramatic irony in the first scene of Act 2 (Act 2, Scene 1)?
2. How might the introduction of Sebastian in Act 2, Scene 1 be important to later events in the play?
3. Where does Sebastian intend to go...AND...Why can't Antonio go with him?
4. How does Viola react when Malvolio catches up to her and wishes to return the ring to her? What lines in Scene 2 help clarify her reaction/understanding of what is going on?
5. What time of day is it when the scene opens with sir Toby and sir Andrew in Scene 3, Act 2? What mood is sir Toby in? What mood is Sir Andrew in ? Why?
6. For what purpose does Maria enter in Scene 3, Act 2?
7. How does Malvolio react toward Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria? What plan do these 3 characters come up with?
8. What kind of song does Feste sing to Duke Orsino in Scene 4? What are some of the lyrics that prove your answer?
9. What prop does Malvolio find on the garden path in Scene 5, Act 2?
10. What sort of stockings does "Olivia's" letter request that the reader [i.e., Malvolio] wear to prove they return Olivia's love?
Please submit your answers by the BEGINNING of our next class (Monday). We will continue reading the play from Act 3 next class.
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