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In William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night, a young woman finds herself shipwrecked on the shore of Illyria. Her twin brother is missing, presumed drowned. All alone in a strange land, Viola decides to disguise herself as a man for safety. And so the comedy begins!
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a comedy. In medieval and Tudor times, the ‘Twelfth Night’ was the end of a winter festival
that started on 31 October (All Hallows Eve, or as we know it
today, Halloween). Mulled cider was drunk, and special pastries
baked, and a king and queen (who could have been servants in
charge for the night) ruled the festival until the clock struck midnight.
People expected a topsy-turvy evening, with singing and clowning
about, when the normal order of things was reversed, and
the Lord of Misrule symbolised the world turning upside down.
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, with its rebellious gender jokes, crossdressing,
practical jokes, daft costumes, moonstruck lovers and
comic revenge would have been amusing for audiences. Today we
study the play to understand the language and appreciate the play’s
entertaining nature, and we enjoy the farcical mixing- up of men
and women, and the funny characters such as Malvolio.
This new edition includes the complete text with explanatory notes,
Shakespeare’s language, and themes, and also explores typical
exam themes and questions.
• The Story of Twelfth Night
• The Play’s Characters
• Themes and Language
• Examining the Play
• The Play
• Notes throughout
About Angela Sheehan:
Angela Sheehan, who introduces the play, is a Shakespeare
enthusiast. She has had a distinguished career editing encyclopedias,
educational texts and reference books for children.
This play contains a new introduction, character notes