Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare


** SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read this book and are still hoping to be surprised by the ending do NOT continue reading, no matter how provocative this bold, starred writing is. **

Twelfth Night, with its disguises and love triangles has the potential to be very confusing, however Shakespeare manages to simplify the exceedingly complex and write a hilarious play. I’ve been reading lots of works from the Renaissance, and I must say, I had no idea how popular transvestites were in literature.  Jonson’s Epicoene, Sidney’s The Old Arcadia, Shirley’s The Bird in the Cage, Cavendish’s The Convent of Pleasure, and Lyly’s Gallathea, just to name a few, all involve a man or a woman dressing as the opposite sex. A fair bit of chaos ensues, and eventually the story eventually ends in love. Probably not the most common “how I met my husband story” but it’s an interesting thought. Although Orsinio’s proposal to Viola seems a bit sudden, the reader is able to accept it with the acceptance of “love at first sight” that is only tolerable in Shakespeare’s plays. The characters are all a bit two dimensional, which for some reason is more acceptable in a comedy. The play is genuinely funny when read, but is probably even more effective on stage. Twelfth Night is a lighthearted play that is full of wit and joy.


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