Shakespeare Theatre Company's production of. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. This season, the Shakespeare Theatre. Company presents seven plays. FM.F 4/26/00 PM Page iCLIFFSCOMPLETEShakespeare'sTwelfth Night Edited by Sidney Lamb Associate Profe. Twelfth Night—an allusion to the night of festivity preceding the Christian celebration of the Epiphany—combines love, confusion, mistaken identities, and joyful.
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night, when thou spokest of Pigrogromitus, of the. Vapians passing the equinoctial of Queubus: 'twas very good, i' faith. I sent thee sixpence for thy leman : hadst. Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the public and we . Free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook. Twelfth Night; or, What You Will is a comedy, believed to have been written around –02 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment .
Related titles. Act I, Scene 5 49 60 Clown Good madonna, why mournest thou? Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4. Good gentle one, give me modest assurance if you be the lady of the house, that I may proceed in my speech. Olivia Your lord does know my mind. The music serves to create a festive carnival atmosphere in Twelfth Night, while the lyrics act as an additional level of commentary on the many themes within the play. Codie Hinds.
Enter Clown. Now, good morrow, friends. Now, good Cesario, but that piece of song, That old and antique song we heard last night: Methought it did relieve my passion much, More than light airs and recollected terms Of these most brisk and giddy-paced times: Come, but one verse.
He is about the house. Music plays.
Clown No, sir, I live by the church. Clown No such matter, sir: I do live by the church; for I do live at my house, and my house doth stand by the church. VIOLA So thou mayst say, the king lies by a beggar, if a beggar dwell near him; or, the church stands by thy tabour, if thy tabour stand by the church.
Clown You have said, sir. To see this age! A sentence is but a cheveril glove to a good wit: Clown I would, therefore, my sister had had no name, sir. Clown Why, sir, her name's a word; and to dally with that word might make my sister wanton. But indeed words are very rascals since bonds disgraced them. Clown Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words; and words are grown so false, I am loath to prove reason with them. Clown Not so, sir, I do care for something; but in my conscience, sir, I do not care for you: Clown No, indeed, sir; the Lady Olivia has no folly: I am indeed not her fool, but her corrupter of words.
Clown Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun, it shines every where. I would be sorry, sir, but the fool should be as oft with your master as with my mistress: I think I saw your wisdom there.
Hold, there's expenses for thee. Clown Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee a beard! FABIAN She did show favour to the youth in your sight only to exasperate you, to awake your dormouse valour, to put fire in your heart and brimstone in your liver. You should then have accosted her; and with some excellent jests, fire-new from the mint, you should have banged the youth into dumbness.
This was looked for at your hand, and this was balked: I had as lief be a Brownist as a politician. Challenge me the count's youth to fight with him; hurt him in eleven places: Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter: But, were my worth as is my conscience firm, You should find better dealing. What's to do? Shall we go see the reliques of this town? I pray you, let us satisfy our eyes With the memorials and the things of fame That do renown this city.
Once, in a sea-fight, 'gainst the count his galleys I did some service; of such note indeed, That were I ta'en here it would scarce be answer'd. It might have since been answer'd in repaying What we took from them; which, for traffic's sake, Most of our city did: Hold, sir, here's my purse. In the south suburbs, at the Elephant, Is best to lodge: I will bespeak our diet, Whiles you beguile the time and feed your knowledge With viewing of the town: For youth is bought more oft than begg'd or borrow'd.
I speak too loud. Some scholars suggest that this decline could have resulted from religious discrimination because the Shakespeare family may have supported Catholicism, the practice of which was illegal in England. However, other scholars point out that not all religious dissenters both Catholics and radical Puritans lost their posts due to their religion. Whatever the cause of his decline, John did regain some prosperity toward the end of his life.
Shakespeare would have started petty school — the rough equivalent to modern preschool — at the age of four or five. This sheet was framed in wood and covered with a transparent piece of horn for durability.
While in grammar school, Shakespeare would primarily have studied Latin, reciting and reading the works of classical Roman authors such as Plautus, Ovid, Seneca, and Horace.
Toward his last years in grammar school, Shakespeare would have acquired some basic skills in Greek as well. At some point, he traveled to London and became involved with the theatre, but he could have been anywhere between 21 and 28 years old when he did.
Though some have suggested that he may have served as an assistant to a schoolmaster at a provincial school, it seems likely that he went to London to become an actor, gradually becoming a playwright and gaining attention.
SuperStock The plays: On stage and in print when Shakespeare left grammar school he was only semi-literate; he merely indicates that Shakespeare did not attend University, where he would have gained more Latin and Greek instruction.
The next mention of Shakespeare comes in by a University wit named Robert Greene when Shakespeare apparently was already a rising actor and playwright for the London stage.
Greene, no longer a successful playwright, tried to warn other University wits about Shakespeare. He wrote: Wife and children When Shakespeare became an adult, the historical records documenting his existence began to increase.
In November , at the age of 18, he married 26year-old Anne Hathaway from the nearby village of Shottery. The disparity in their ages, coupled with the fact that they baptized their first daughter, Susanna, only six months later in May , has caused a great deal of modern speculation about the nature of their relationship.
However, sixteenth-century conceptions of marriage differed slightly from our modern notions. This contract removed the social stigma of pregnancy before marriage. Two years later, in February , Shakespeare baptized his twins Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet would die at the age of 11 when Shakespeare was primarily living away from his family in London. This statement comes at a point in time when men without a university education, like Shakespeare, were starting to compete as dramatists with the University wits.
Publication history suggests that during this closure, Shakespeare may have written his two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis, published in , and The Rape of Lucrece, published in These are the only two works that Shakespeare seems to have helped into print; each carries a dedication by Shakespeare to Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton.
A ground plan of London after the fire of , drawn by Marcus Willemsz Doornik. During his early years in the theatre, he primarily wrote history plays, with his romantic comedies emerging in the s. Even at this early stage in his career, Shakespeare was a success. In , he was able to purchase New Place, one of the two largest houses in Stratford, and secure a coat of arms for his family. Because the owner of The Theatre refused to renew the lease, the acting company was forced to perform at various playhouses until the opening of the now famous Globe Theatre, which was literally built with lumber from The Theatre.
The Globe, later destroyed by fire, has recently been reconstructed in London and can be visited today. Publications A quarto was a small, inexpensive book typically used for leisure books such as plays; the term itself indicates that the printer folded the paper four times. The modern day equivalent of a quarto would be a paperback. In contrast, the first collected works of Shakespeare were in folio format, which means that the printer folded each sheet only once.
A folio was a larger and more prestigious book Introduction to William Shakespeare than a quarto, and printers generally reserved the format for works such as the Bible. No evidence exists that Shakespeare participated in the publication of any of his plays. Generally, playwrights wrote their works to be performed on stage, and publishing them was a novel innovation at the time.
Shakespeare probably would not have thought of them as books in the way we do. In fact, as a principal investor in the acting company which purchased the play as well as the exclusive right to perform it , he may not have even thought of them as his own.
He would probably have thought of his plays as belonging to the company.
How would a printer have received a pirated copy of a play? The theories range from someone stealing a copy to an actor or actors selling the play by relating it from memory to a printer. Hamlet, for example, is almost twice as long in the Folio as in quarto versions. Recently, scholars have come to realize the value of the different versions. The Norton Shakespeare, for example, includes all three versions of King Lear — the quarto, the folio, and the conflated version the combination of the quarto and folio.
Around the time of this transition in the English monarchy, the 5 famous tragedy Othello — was most likely written and performed, followed closely by King Lear — , Antony and Cleopatra , and Macbeth in the next two years. Final days During the last years of his career, Shakespeare collaborated on a couple of plays with contemporary dramatist John Fletcher, even possibly coming out of retirement — which scholars believe began sometime in — to work on The Two Noble Kinsmen — Three years later, Shakespeare died on April 23, Though the exact cause of death remains unknown, a vicar from Stratford in the midseventeenth-century wrote in his diary that Shakespeare, perhaps celebrating the marriage of his daughter, Judith, contracted a fever during a night of revelry with fellow literary figures Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton.
Regardless, Shakespeare may have felt his death was imminent in March of that year because he altered his will. Interestingly, his will mentions no book or theatrical manuscripts, perhaps indicating the lack of value that he put on printed versions of his dramatic works and their status as company property. Yet, rather than serving as a barrier to Shakespeare, the richness of this language should form part of our appreciation of the Bard.
One of the first things readers usually notice about the language is the use of pronouns. You may need a little time to get used to these Introduction to Early Modern England 7 changes. You can find the definitions for other words that commonly cause confusion in the notes column on the right side of each page in this edition.
Iambic pentameter Though Shakespeare sometimes wrote in prose, he wrote most of his plays in poetry, specifically blank verse. Blank verse consists of lines in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Iambic refers to the stress patterns of the line. An iamb is an element of sound that consists of two beats — the first unstressed da and the second stressed DA. Penta-meter has five stressed syllables. This wordplay often takes the forms of double meanings, called puns, where a word can mean more than one thing in a given context.
Shakespeare often employs these puns as a way of illustrating the distance between what is on the surface — apparent meanings — and what meanings lie underneath.
Though recognizing these puns may be difficult at first, the notes in the far right column point many of them out to you.
Wells, Stanley and Gary Taylor. William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion. New York: Norton and Co. Also, though most of the lines are poetic, do not forget to read complete sentences — move from period to period as well as from line to line.
Bevington, David, ed. The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Longman, Evans, G. Blakemore, ed. The Riverside Shakespeare.
Houghton Mifflin Co. Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Shakespeare. Kastan, David Scott, ed. A Companion to Shakespeare. Blackwell, McDonald, Russ. The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare: An Introduction with Documents. The term renaissance, meaning rebirth, was applied to this period of English history as a way of celebrating what was perceived as the rapid development of art, literature, science, and politics: First, some scholars argue that the term should not be used because women did not share in the advancements of English culture during this time period; their legal status was still below that of men.
Second, other scholars have challenged the basic notion that this 8 CliffsComplete Twelfth Night period saw a sudden explosion of culture. A rebirth of civilization suggests that the previous period of time was not civilized. Some people use the terms Elizabethan and Jacobean when referring to periods of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These terms correspond to the reigns of Elizabeth I — and James I — Scholars are now beginning to replace Renaissance with the term Early Modern when referring to this time period, but people still use both terms interchangeably.
The term Early Modern recognizes that this period established many of the foundations of our modern culture. Though critics still disagree about the exact dates of the period, in general, the dates range from to Though his understanding of human nature and relationships seems to apply to our modern lives, we must try to understand the world he lived in so we can better understand his plays.
This introduction helps you do just that. Intellectual context In general, people in Early Modern England looked at the universe, the human body, and science very differently from the way we do.
Discoveries made during the Early Modern period concerning the universe and the human body provide the basis of modern science. Cosmology One subject we view very differently than Early Modern thinkers is cosmology.
Ptolemy thought that the earth stood at the center of the universe, surrounded by nine concentric rings. The celestial bodies circled the earth in the following order: The entire system was controlled by the primum mobile, or Prime Mover, which initiated and maintained the movement of the celestial bodies. No one had yet discovered the last three planets in our solar system, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
In , Nicolaus Copernicus published his theory of a sun-based solar system, in which the sun stood at the center and the planets revolved around it. During the Early Modern period, many people believed that all of creation was organized hierarchically. God existed at the top, followed by the angels, men, women, animals, plants, and rocks. Because all women were thought to exist below all men on the chain, we can easily imagine the confusion that Elizabeth I caused when she became queen of England.
Though the concept of this hierarchy is a useful one when beginning to study Shakespeare, keep in mind that distinctions in this hierarchical view were not always clear and that we should not reduce all Early Modern thinking to a simple chain. Elements and humors The belief in a hierarchical scheme of existence created a comforting sense of order and balance that carried over into science as well.
People associated these four elements with four qualities of being. These qualities — hot, cold, moist, and dry — appeared in different combinations in the elements. For example, air was hot and moist; water was cold and moist; earth was cold and dry; and fire was hot and dry.
In addition, people believed that the human body contained all four elements in the form of humors — blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile — each of which corresponded to an element. Blood corresponded to air hot and moist , phlegm to water cold and moist , yellow bile to fire hot and dry , and black bile to earth cold and dry.
For example, if someone were diagnosed with an abundance of blood, the physician would bleed the patient using leeches or cutting the skin in order to restore the balance. If dominated by yellow bile or choler , that person was irritable. The dominance of phlegm led a person to be dull and kind. And if black bile prevailed, he was melancholy or sad. Thus, people of Early Modern England often used the humors to explain behavior and emotional 9 outbursts. As in popular psychology today, humors reduced the complexities of human behavior to a few overly simplified concepts, which were to be applied to almost any situation.
Shakespeare scorns this reductive view; he presents life. He captures and reveals human behavior in more complex terms, allowing his characters to embody contradictions.
A person may behave rationally in certain situations and choleric in others within a play by Shakespeare. With Jonson, this dynamic is never the case; his characters are created to exemplify one specific humor. In effect, Twelfth Night is Shakespeare mocking Jonson as a playwright for being overtly moralizing and self-satisfied, in the manner of Malvolio , as well as reductive in his rendering of the human condition. Religious context Shakespeare lived in an England full of religious uncertainty and dispute.
From the Protestant Reformation to the translation of the Bible into English, the Early Modern era is punctuated with events that have greatly influenced modern religious beliefs. Beginning in Europe in the early sixteenth century, religious thinkers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, who claimed that the Roman Catholic 10 CliffsComplete Twelfth Night Church had become corrupt and was no longer following the word of God, began what has become known as the Protestant Reformation.
They also believed in the primacy of the Bible and advocated giving all people access to reading the Bible. He also wrote the first Book of Common Prayer, adopted in , which was the official text for worship services in England. The reign of wife, Catherine of Mary witnessed the reversal of religion in England Aragon, for her failure to produce a male heir.
Only through the restoration of Catholic authority and one of their children, Mary, survived past infancy. Many Protestants fled to Europe approval, which he did in Thus, in the space of a Act of Succession. This succession gave Protestant Introduction to Early Modern England Many Catholics, who remained loyal to Rome and their church, were persecuted for their beliefs.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Puritans were persecuted for their belief that the Reformation was not complete. The English pejoratively applied the term Puritan to religious groups that wanted to continue purifying the English church by such measures as removing the episcopacy, or the structure of bishops. Translated by William Tyndale in , the first authorized Bible in English, published in , was known as the Great Bible.
Known as passive obedience, this doctrine did not allow any opposition even to a tyrannical monarch because God had appointed the king or queen for reasons unknown to His subjects on earth. Parliament, already well established in England, reserved some power, such as the authority to levy taxes, for itself. Elizabeth I lived in a society that restricted women from possessing any political or personal autonomy and power. As queen, Elizabeth violated and called into question many of the prejudices and practices against women.
However, her position did nothing to increase the status of women in England. Both of the monarchs under whom Shakespeare lived had to deal with religious and political dissenters. Elizabeth I Despite being a Protestant, Elizabeth I tried to take a middle road on the religious question. She allowed Catholics to practice their religion in private as long as they outwardly appeared Anglican and remained loyal to the throne.
In addition, throughout her reign, Elizabeth brilliantly negotiated between domestic and foreign factions — some of whom were anxious about a female monarch and wanted her to marry — appeasing both sides without ever committing to one. She remained unmarried throughout her year reign, partially by styling herself as the Virgin Queen whose purity represented England herself.
Her refusal to marry and her habit of hinting and promising marriage with suitors both foreign and domestic helped Elizabeth maintain internal and external peace. Not marrying allowed her to retain her independence, but it left the succession of the English throne in question. Some historians refer to him as James VI and I. Like Elizabeth, James was a strong believer in the divine right of kings and their absolute authority.
Upon his arrival in London to claim the English throne, James made his plans to unite Scotland and England clear. However, a long-standing history of enmity existed between the two countries.
Partially as a result of this history and the influx of Scottish courtiers into English society, anti-Scottish prejudice abounded in England. As scholars such as Bevington have pointed out, James was less successful than Elizabeth was in negotiating between the different religious and political factions in England.
Although he was a Protestant, he began to have problems with the Puritan sect of the House of Commons, which ultimately led to a rift between the court which also started to have Catholic sympathies and the Parliament. James I commissioned elaborate feasts, masques, and pageants, and in doing so he more than doubled the royal debt. The primary distinctions between these two classes were ancestry, wealth, and power.
Simply put, the aristocrats were the only ones who possessed all three. Aristocrats were born with their wealth, but the growth of trade and the development of skilled professions began to provide wealth for those not born with it.
Shakespeare himself used the wealth gained from the theatre to move into the lower ranks of the aristocracy by securing a coat of arms for his family. Shakespeare was not unique in this movement, but not all people received the opportunity to increase their social status.
Members of the aristocracy feared this social movement and, as a result, promoted harsh laws of apprenticeship and fashion, restricting certain styles of dress and material. These Intro. When Elizabeth died, and James became king, Shakespeare largely eschewed such plays that celebrated a largely untamed feminine spirit.
The status of women The legal status of women did not allow them much public or private autonomy. In fact, the family metaphorically corresponded to the state. For example, the husband was the king of his family. People also saw the family itself differently than today, considering apprentices and servants part of the whole family. There are other ways in which traditional gender roles are inverted in Twelfth Night. Olivia, who like Queen Elizabeth, is head of her household, is in a position of authority throughout the play, trying to maintain peace between the choleric Malvolio and the sanguineous Toby.
We see her controlling her household, while Orsino, by contrast, is somewhat less authoritative: He would rather lounge about his house passively and recite poetry than go hunting, either for deer or for Olivia. In the absence of a male heir, some women, such as Queen Elizabeth, did. But after women married, they lost almost all of their already limited legal rights, such as the right to inherit, to own property, and to sign contracts.
In all likelihood, Elizabeth I would have lost much of her power and authority if she married. Furthermore, women did not generally receive an education and could not enter certain professions, including acting. Instead, society relegated women to the domestic sphere of the home. In Twelfth Night, however, we see such gender stereotypes challenged in many ways.
The strongest character in the play, Viola, is sympathetically portrayed as adopting a male disguise in order to transcend the typical gender restrictions of her time. Families usually possessed limited living space, and even among wealthy families multiple family members tended to share a small number of rooms, suggesting that privacy may not have been important or practical. Working through the morning, Elizabethans usually had lunch about noon.
This midday meal was the primary meal of the day, much like dinner is for modern families. The workday usually ended around sundown or 5 p. Before an early bedtime, Elizabethans usually ate a light repast and then settled in for a couple of hours of reading if the family members were literate and could bear the high cost of books or socializing.
Mortality rates Mortality rates in Early Modern England were high compared to our standards, especially among infants. Infection and disease ran rampant because physicians Intro.
As a result, communicable diseases often spread very rapidly in cities, particularly London. We now know that the plague was spread by fleas and could not be spread directly from human to human. Without a cure or an understanding of what transmitted the disease, physicians could do nothing to stop the thousands of deaths that resulted from each outbreak.
London life In the sixteenth century, London, though small compared to modern cities, was the largest city of Europe, with a population of about , inhabitants in the city and surrounding suburbs. London was a crowded city without a sewer system, which facilitated epidemics such as the plague.
In addition, crime rates were high in the city due to inefficient law enforcement and the lack of street lighting. Despite these drawbacks, London was the cultural, political, and social heart of England. Not surprisingly, a young Shakespeare moved to London to begin his professional career.
Furthermore, because theatre performances took place during the day, they took laborers away from their jobs.
Opposition to the theatres also came from Puritans who believed that they fostered immorality. Therefore, theatres moved out of the city, to areas near other sites of restricted activities, such as dog fighting, bear- and bull-baiting, and prostitution.
Despite the move, the theatre was not free from censorship or regulation. In fact, a branch of the government known as the Office of the Revels attempted to ensure that plays did not present politically or socially sensitive material.
Prior to each performance, the Master of the Revels would read a complete text of each play, cutting out offending sections or, in some cases, not approving the play for public performance. Performance spaces Theatres in Early Modern England were quite different from our modern facilities.
They were usually open-air, relying heavily on natural light and good weather. The rectangular stage extended out into an area that people called the pit — a circular, uncovered area about 70 feet in diameter. Audience members had two choices when purchasing admission to a theatre.
Admission to the pit, where the lower classes or groundlings stood for the performances, The theatre Most theatres were not actually located within the city of London. These The recently reconstructed Globe Theatre.
People of wealth could purchase a seat in one of the three covered tiers of seats that ringed the pit. At full capacity, a public theatre in Early Modern England could hold between 2, and 3, people.
The stage, which projected into the pit and was raised about five feet above it, had a covered portion called the heavens. The heavens enclosed theatrical equipment for lowering and raising actors to and from Shakespeare in Love shows how the interior of the Globe would have appeared.
A trapdoor in the The Everett Collection middle of the stage provided Shakespeare was able to include enough in the play theatrical graves for characters such as Ophelia and to please an aristocratic audience as well as a less edualso allowed ghosts, such as Banquo in Macbeth, to cated one.
At each end of the wall stood a door for Actors and staging major entrances and exits.
However, theatre the wealthiest spectators. Actors occasionally used companies developed their costumes with great care this area when a performance called for a difference and expense. These extravagant cosor the walls of a besieged city. Because only the men. Young boys whose voices had not reached wealthy could afford the cost of admission, the pubmaturity played female parts. This practice no doubt lic generally considered these theatres private.
Certainly, Intro. Scholars of Early Modern theatre have turned to the scant external and internal stage directions in manuscripts in an effort to find these answers. While a hindrance for modern critics and scholars, the lack of detail about Early Modern performances has allowed modern directors and actors a great deal of flexibility and room to be creative. In directing Twelfth Night and other Shakespeare plays, as in writing about them, we are in some ways co-authoring it, just as each harpsichordist who interprets a Bach concerto, although reading the music note for note, achieves a unique effect.
Accustomed as we are, in the early twenty-first century, to special effects, in the theatre as well as in movies which have, in many ways, more in common with the Shakespearean theatre than contemporary theatre does , we may initially downplay the importance of words in Shakespeare.
For Shakespeare, language was not only the means by which characters communicate to each other but also served a function that today is largely served by so-called special effects. Sheets would be printed one side at a time; thus, printers had to simultaneously print multiple nonconsecutive pages. In order to estimate what section of the text would be on each page, the printer would cast off copy. After the printer made these estimates, compositors would set the type upside down, letter by letter.
This process of setting type produced textual errors, some of which a proofreader would catch. When a proofreader found an error, the compositors would fix the piece or pieces of type. Printers called corrections made after printing began stop-press corrections because they literally had to stop the press to fix the error.
Because of the high cost of paper, printers would still sell the sheets printed before they made the correction. Printers placed frames of text in the bed of the printing press and used them to imprint the paper.
They then folded and grouped the sheets of paper into gatherings, after which the pages were ready for sale. The buyer had the option of getting the new play bound. The inconsistent and scant appearance of stage directions, for example, makes it difficult to determine how close this relationship was.
If not for the printing press, many Early Modern plays may not have survived until today. Theatre was a collaborative Intro. Rather than lament our inability to determine authorship and what exactly Shakespeare wrote, we should work to understand this collaborative nature and learn from it.
Shakespeare discouraged publication of his plays while he was alive because publication would allow rival acting troupes to perform the plays and thus threaten his economic livelihood.
While this fact means that much of the textual debate that surrounds other Shakespeare plays such as Hamlet, whose quarto and folio versions are significantly different is avoided when considering the text of Twelfth Night, it in no way ensures that the text we have today is what Shakespeare wrote. It is quite possible, for example, that the actor who played Feste, Robert Armin, had at least some hand in writing his own lines.
Some have suggested that Armin, a professional fool and author, as well as an actor who played one, actually improvised his jokes so that each night a theatre audience would see a somewhat different play. Printers could have used any one of these copies to print a play.
Shakespeare wrote his plays for the stage, and the existing published texts reflect the collaborative nature of the theater as well as the unavoidable changes made during the printing process. From there, a scribe would recopy the play and produce a fair copy. The theatre manager would then copy out and annotate this copy into a playbook what people today call a promptbook. At this point, scrolls of individual parts were copied out for actors to memorize.
Due to the high cost of paper, theatre companies could not afford to provide their actors with a complete copy of the play. The government required the company to send Works cited For more information regarding Early Modern England, consult the following works: Bevington, David. Updated Fourth edition. Greenblatt, Stephen. Up until quite recently, most Shakespearean critics and scholars have steadfastly adhered to a false, one-sided Intro. Such a re-evaluation has come from several quarters, the most significant of which are the following: These critics argue that the tragedies deal far more with the problematics of a male subjectivity left largely unchecked by women, while the comedies divide their concerns more equally between men and women.
Thus, because the comedies abound with quick witty dialogue while the tragedies are more full of long speeches and soliloquies, the comedies are often deemed less poetic. Yet if we broaden our idea of poetry to allow for wit and dialogue, we may find that the comedies are at least as poetic as the tragedies, especially when considering Twelfth Night, which has both long speeches with high poetic diction and quick witty banter. In fact, the witty banter and emphasis on dialogue in Shakespearean comedy is very much a comment on these tragic conventions.
In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare employs comic conventions to keep tragedy in check: The unfettered subjectivity, isolation, and alienation of the tragic hero, destructive to himself as well as to the society of which he is a part, is satirized and often successfully countered by the serious foolery in this play.
Twelfth Night has no tragic heroes, though the characters of both Orsino and Malvolio contain elements of the tragic hero.
But life requires constant compromises and accommodations with society in general, as well as with other individuals, and the comedies, with their plurality of perspectives and seemingly gratuitous banter which require an acute attentiveness to language and the slipperiness of the present , have much to teach us.
The conclusion of Twelfth Night adheres to Shakespearean comic convention: The Everett Collection Intro. Generally speaking, comedy is opposed to tragedy insofar as the latter plays end in death while the former end in marriage. The difference between comedy and tragedy is largely a function of how the plays end; one sleight of the authorial pen, and Romeo and Juliet becomes a comedy and Twelfth Night a tragedy.
Shakespeare, throughout his career, manipulated and complicated this convention. For example, Antony and Cleopatra seem more united in death than they ever did in life. The play adheres to comic conventions. Three couples are paired off by the end of the play, and a brother and sister are 19 reunited — yet the world that the play presents is, in the final analysis, more the point of the play than whether or not the ending is happy.
Generally speaking, Shakespearean comedy is also distinguished from tragedy by several other factors. While tragedies often take their name from their central characters, none of the comedies do. While all of these distinguishing factors may be seen in Twelfth Night, we must remember that each play whatever its generic classification handles these themes differently. In Twelfth Night, we are still invited to laugh, but more typically the laughter is with the characters Intro.
We are not afforded any omniscient, Puck-like perspective from which to gaze on the follies brought on by love in Twelfth Night. This is not to say that Twelfth Night is an especially dark play, but that it contains a harmonious balance between comic and tragic elements. Even though all these threats come to nought, they serve as a reminder of how eros love , in Shakespeare, can so quickly slide over into thanatos death. In fact, many of the characters speak of love in terms of death.
In Twelfth Night, love is seen as similar to death, The comic character, Malvolio, from a Royal Shakespeare Company because both pose a threat, production of Twelfth Night. The very language that one uses of the play, Olivia is mourning a dead brother. Sebasto communicate with another may end up meaning tian and Viola, fraternal twins, have just survived a more, or at least differently, than what one intended.
Yet in both of these cases, The characters in the play that cling to a singuthe severing by death of a fraternal bond, seems to lar sense of self that does not allow for change are force these characters to ready themselves for a more often the ones for whom change happens most viomature adult love. Malvolio is the most notable example of this, Later in the play, when the plot entanglements heat up, we learn of other near-brushes with death.
Pranks orchestrated by Sir Toby and Sir Andrew lead them perilously close to being killed by Sebastian. Most significantly, Orsino threatens to kill but Orsino, too, although he claims to be open to love, is, beneath all his high rhetoric, deeply afraid of any mutual love relationship.
By Intro. Perhaps because, being shipwrecked on a strange land and having lost her brother though not her money! What may be a virtue in other realms of experience becomes a debilitating stubbornness when it comes to erotic love. Fate, show thy force; ourselves we do not owe. What is decreed must be — and this be so! Shakespeare, in the person of Olivia here, gets to the heart of the relationship between self and love.
When we fall in love, we almost necessarily lose our self-composure, cease to be able to see our actions with our own eyes or realize, perhaps for the first time, that we could never see our actions in the first place. The Everett Collection lesson about the most noble, if not necessarily rewarding, attitude to take toward the risk that love entails: Their lapses and mini-tragedies occur when they try to control a situation that, by definition, must remain beyond their control.
For if we do not owe ourselves, then somebody else does, and every relationship with others actually creates our self, our sense of identity, much more than any pre-existing sense of essence does. The heroine of this play, Viola, although extremely passive when it comes to expressing and acting directly on her own desire for Orsino, is Intro.
We do not have control over who loves us, and we do not have control over whom we love. Identity will always be fragmentary and incomplete until one is able to love, regardless of whether one is loved in return.
Yet if that love is frustrated and in Shakespearean comedy, it almost always is at first, as frustration is precisely what moves the plot , it may sometimes turn into hate. Even Malvolio, in his pathetic attempt to please Olivia, shares more of the wisdom that Olivia expresses in the above quote than Orsino does.
Duke I know thee well. How dost thou, my good fellow? Clown Truly, sir, the better for my foes and the worse for my friends. Duke Just the contrary, the better for thy friends. Clown No, sir, the worse. Duke How can that be? Clown Marry, sir, they praise me and make an ass of me; now my foes tell me plainly I am an ass: Duke Why, this is excellent.
The fool, here as elsewhere, is like a zen-master, using absurdity to point out the absurdity of common sense. He simply cannot see how he may profit by his enemies, by those who thwart his desires. Identity and disguise One of the central motifs of this play is identity and mistaken identity. Identity like so many words in this play has a double sense. On the one hand, identity differentiates one thing from another by noting the individuality of each. On the other hand, identity also implies likeness or resemblance.
When we Intro. And this tension between likeness and difference generates much of the action in the comic and romantic plots. Both plots depend on Viola and Sebastian being identical in appearance, yet two different people.
His ability to reveal the unstable nature of identity itself, however, is profoundly disturbing. What you will in this play is the basis for who you are. In Illyria, characters like actors take on fictive roles, and the line between being someone and playing someone is as tenuous as the line between reality and illusion.
Orsino plays the role of an unrequited lover and performs his suffering in scene after scene. Olivia plays the role of a woman grieving; her somber clothes and veil are her costume. But in short order, Maria scripts his performance with a counterfeit love letter, supplying him with a larger audience Toby, Andrew, and Fabian and a guide to costuming cross-gartered yellow stockings. Yet all of these characters are unconscious of the fact that they are playing roles at all.
This knowledge sets them apart; they know just how changeable identity really is. Viola is aware that life in Illyria is like a play in which characters choose roles and enact their identities, but she is also aware of the wickedness of disguise hers has deceived Olivia and its limitations it prevents her from being loved by Orsino.
Feste, the Fool, is no less aware of the deceptive nature of appearance when it comes to identity. His role as Fool provides the other characters with a mirror in which they see themselves without illusion, an inverted fun house mirror, correcting instead of creating distortions.
Similarly, Shakespeare has created a play that acts as a mirror, showing his audience that identity itself is a convenient lie, its underlying instability the greatest truth. Shakespeare undermines the notion of identity as a stable, immutable form at every level. The similarity between the names of Olivia, Malvolio, and Viola — spoken aloud, their resemblance is palpable — is no accident; their difference is almost indistinguishable.
They not only sound alike, they are anagrams of each other. Viola, as Cesario, is just one example of identity confusion prevalent in Twelfth Night. O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound, That breathes upon a bank of violets, Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more: O spirit of love! O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first, 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.
The element itself, till seven years' heat, Shall not behold her face at ample view; But, like a cloistress, she will veiled walk And water once a day her chamber round With eye-offending brine: DUKE ORSINO O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame To pay this debt of love but to a brother, How will she love, when the rich golden shaft Hath kill'd the flock of all affections else That live in her; when liver, brain and heart, These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and fill'd Her sweet perfections with one self king!
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers: