Shakespeare Reading Series
"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." Such is the message along with the commendation to wear yellow stockings cross gartered and to smile that starts a downward spiral for the puritanical Malvolio in Twelfth Night.
Not that life is going better for the others in the play. Orsino, the Duke of Illyria, loves Olivia. But she, mourning the death of her brother, will have nothing to do with him - until Cesario (Viola in disguise) shows up. Olivia quickly forgets about her brother and falls in love with Cesario. Unfortunately, Viola - who disguised herself so she could serve Orsino - is in love with the Duke.
As if this were not enough, Viola's twin brother, Sebastian, whom she thought was lost at sea, shows up to confuse everyone even more.
Oh, well. As Orsino says, "If music be the food of love, play on."
Some good references for the play are:
Text of the play
SparkNotes summary of the play
Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare
Cummings Study Guide: Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night 1996
Twelfth Night 1980
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Last updated: 1/22/2018