CAPTAIN: We're in Illyria - there's a duke who lives here who's totally in love with this chick Olivia, but she's all sad because her brother died like a year ago but Orsino won't leave it alone. ORSINO: *sits in his room listening to "Love Hurts" on repeat and writing Olivia/Orsino fanfiction* VIOLA: Well then, I guess the only thing for me to do is disguise myself as a boy and go work for Orsino! OLIVIA: CESARIO, TELL YOUR STUPID MASTER THAT FOR THE HUNDREDTH TIME, I DON'T WANT TO GET MARRIED RIGHT NOW BECAUSES I AM KIND OF IN MOURNING FOR THE ONLY FAMILY MEMBER I HAD. CESARIO/VIOLA: Look, I know you're sad and everything - hey, my twin brother just died in a shipwreck too - but Orsino like, really really loves you. CESARIO/VIOLA: Oh, HELL no. ORSINO: Why won't Olivia love me? CESARIO/VIOLA: Yes, I love somebody. CESARIO/VIOLA: Um...wow, you're actually sort of a douche. Malvolio, Olivia has a crush on you and wants you to wear these poncy yellow stockings and smile all the time. OLIVIA: Cesario! CESARIO/VIOLA: OMG SEBASTIAN! VIOLA: Wait...is that seriously how the play ends?
While I was listening to this, I had no idea that Viola & Sebastian were twins. Warning: Incorrect Spoilers Ok, Viola & Sebastian went on a Carnival Cruise Vacation. Viola washes up on the shore of Illyria, thinking that her dear brother is lost at sea, and decides she needs to find a man!
A chain of improbable events lead to several impersonations and mistaken identities that involve gender and class transformation, setting Viola as a male servant in the court of the Duke of Orsino who is vainly fixated on the damsel Olivia, whose grief for her lost brother prevents her from reciprocating the Dukes passion. The main attraction of this comedy shouldnt be expected in the parallel plots or in the tangled web of misplaced identities that defy gender bias and preconceived ideas about sexual orientation, heartbreak, grief or mockery; instead, it is to be found in the musicality of the language that shines more brightly in Orsinos interventions and the Fools sagacious interludes.
Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to Twelfth Night, a comedy written in 1601 by William Shakespeare. There are more reviews written about Shakespeare than either of us know what to do with, on, over or about. I have to imagine he talked to himself a lot when writing this one, adding voices and different character attributes to even be sure he understood what he had going on! here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT.
Throughout Twelfth Night, Shakespeare plays with the idea of both gender and romance as roles we perform, and with love as something beyond gender or sexuality. Beginning with lead character Viola transforming herself into Cesario, the show delves into issues of gender as a performed role and romance as another performed role, a tool for status gain. Throughout Twelfth Night, characters break their gendered roles in society, with women coming off as powerful and men coming off as incompetent. Yet despite their personal breaks in role, each character is still playing a part, dictated by gender. It is here that the plays tension appears: where does the character start, and Viola begin? Within these lines, Shakespeare puts Viola in the liminal space between gender, allowing her a role in the world in which her personality supersedes her gender. It is only in the relationship between Orsino and Viola that love occurs on a true basis of personal knowledge, transversing heteronormative romantic boundaries (note: this line inspired one of my teachers to ask how I learned the word heteronormative, which is deeply hilarious). Orsino begins the play in a role, that of a lovesick teenger for an unnatainable girl; it is only through the love of someone he actually knows that he breaks out of his role. It is Orsinos words themselves, however, that best indicate romantic tension towards Viola: ...Cesario, / Thou knowst no less but all. I, poor monster, / fond as much on him (2.2.33-34), Viola says of herself, self-deprecating on her state of desire for Orsino; she knows her desire cannot be while she plays the role of a man. Orsinos direction to Viola to If ever thou shalt love, / In the sweet pangs of it remember me (2.4.17-18) is easy to read into, and Violas subsequent discussion of her sisters feelings for a man are hard to stage as anything but a sexually tense scene. Here, Viola uses servant to denote both her own servitude and Orsinos love for Olivia, establishing the term as something of a romantic innuendo (as it was commonly used). There is a moment of change in the play, where Orsino discovers that Cesario is also Viola, and we, as the audience, have an expectation of how this will play out in the 2005 reimagination Shes the Man, for example, Orsino is horrified by Violas identity as a woman and romantic tension with him, and must take a week to process her true self. In other words, he loves her for who she is, beyond the performed roles of manhood or womanhood it is simply that her new role as a woman allows their relationship to progress in public. In ending his show with Orsino and Viola marrying, Shakespeare comes the closest possible to allowing two men to form a relationship on stage.
She/He, starts working for the local Duke, Orsino, who loves another person of noble blood , Countess Olivia. And Olivia has a secret crush on his messenger, Cesario, ( Orsino is a very jealous, fierce man, who likes to duel), he also, after just a few days becomes very fond of his new, sweet servant. More trouble for Lady Olivia, she falls in desperate love with the disguised Viola, as Cesario, who becomes very uneasy. Even Sir Andrew and Sir Toby, take their swords out to fight the supposedly timid "Cesario" , who is not his sister, and knows how to duel.
The thing is that comedies are always more fun on a stage. I also like Richard II better, because I knew more about its cultural context and enjoyed the relationship between Shakespeare's Richard and the actual living and breathing and long dead king.
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. There have been plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare that were not authentically written by the great master of language and literature.