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Twelfth Night (Shakespeare, Signet Classic) (edition 1965)

by William Shakespeare

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Title:Twelfth Night (Shakespeare, Signet Classic)
Authors:William Shakespeare
Info:Signet Classics (1965), Paperback
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Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (Author)

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English (51)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Easily my favorite Shakespeare play. ( )
  kchung_kaching | Sep 1, 2014 |
In the words of deuce: "gay, working on gayer". Kind of a shame it never made it to gayer because Viola and the Countess are the most well developed pairing in the play. Also while the Duke's bits where he acts like a self-important tool are funny, they undermine the "happy ending" of Viola marrying him. This could have been fixed by giving him some bits where he displayed more redeeming characteristics, because (unlike the rapist guy in Two Gentleman) nothing he does is unforgivable... it's just that, all we do see of his personality is that he's kind of a douche. The production of it I saw was consistently funny in every scene and I had a great time watching it performed. ( )
  jhudsui | Aug 17, 2014 |
I´ve re-read it countless times..My favourite from Shakespeare. ( )
  ClarisaO | Aug 13, 2014 |
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
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:
'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe'er,
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.
Act 1, 1.1-15

Every major character in Twelfth Night experiences some form of desire or love. Duke Orsino is in love with Olivia. Viola falls in love with Orsino, while disguised as his pageboy, Cesario. Olivia falls in love with Cesario. This love triangle is only resolved when Olivia falls in love with Viola's twin brother, Sebastian, and, at the last minute, Orsino decides that he actually loves Viola. Twelfth Night derives much of its comic force by satirizing these lovers. In the lines that open the play (above), Shakespeare pokes fun at Orsino's flowery love poetry, making it clear that Orsino is more in love with being in love than with his supposed beloveds. At the same time, by showing the details of the intricate rules that govern how nobles engage in courtship, Shakespeare examines how characters play the "game" of love. Viola (as Cesario) has the following lines in Act 1, scene 5:
Make me a willow cabin at your gate
And call upon my soul within the house;
Write loyal cantons of contemned love
And sing them loud even in the dead of night;
Halloo your name to the reverberate hills
And make the babbling gossip of the air
Cry out 'Olivia!' O, You should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth
But you should pity me. (251-259)

Twelfth Night further mocks the main characters' romantic ideas about love through the escapades of the servants. Malvolio's idiotic behavior, which he believes will win Olivia's heart, serves to underline Orsino's own only-slightly-less silly romantic ideas. Meanwhile, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Sir Toby Belch, and Maria, are always cracking crass double entendres that make it clear that while the nobles may spout flowery poetry about romantic love, that love is at least partly motivated by desire and sex. Shakespeare further makes fun of romantic love by showing how the devotion that connects siblings (Viola and Sebastian) and servants to masters (Antonio to Sebastian and Maria to Olivia) actually prove more constant than any of the romantic bonds in the play.

But there is more than love and desire in this amazing comedy. At the opening when Viola is shipwrecked in Illyria she bemoans that she cannot join her lost twin brother Sebastian in Elysium. Illyria is not Elysium however it reminds those familiar with As You Like It of the Arcadian forest of Arden. In both plays the setting is otherworldly--a place apart from the rest of civilization.

There is also melancholy, for several characters in Twelfth Night suffer from some version of love-melancholy. Orsino exhibits many symptoms of the disease (including lethargy, inactivity, and interest in music and poetry). Dressed up as Cesario, Viola describes herself as dying of melancholy, because she is unable to act on her love for Orsino. Olivia also describes Malvolio as melancholy and blames it on his narcissism. It is this melancholy that represents the painful side of love.

Perhaps more central to this play in particular are the themes of deception, disguise, and performance. With these themes Twelfth Night raises questions about the nature of gender and sexual identity. That Viola has disguised herself as a man, and that her disguise fools Olivia into falling in love with her, is genuinely funny. On a more serious note, however, Viola's transformation into Cesario, and Olivia's impossible love for him/her, also imply that, maybe, distinctions between male/female and heterosexual/homosexual are not as absolutely firm as you might think. When you recall that the players in Shakespeare's Globe were all men and boys these issues become both more humorous and serious at the same time. You may get a more vivid idea of this theme by viewing clips of the recent all-male production of Twelfth Night starring Mark Rylance.*

This play rivals As You Like It for the title of the best of Shakespeare's comedies. While I prefer the former, there are complexities of love and desire mixed with questions of sexual identity that make this comedy a fine way to experience and enjoy Shakespeare. ( )
  jwhenderson | Aug 2, 2014 |
Quite possibly my favorite play by Shakespeare! Fun story! ( )
  mgeorge2755 | May 14, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (165 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, WilliamAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrews, John F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Auld, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnet, SylvanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elam, KeirEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Günther, FrankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, G. B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Honigmann, E. A. J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Innes, Arthur D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komrij, GerritTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCowen, AlecForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mowat, Barbara A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schlegel, August Wilhelm vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werstine, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, StanleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
If music be the food of love, play on,

Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.
Quotations
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!
If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.
Be not afraid of greatness: some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (7)

Book description
After seeing Twelfe Night on Broadway this past October, I was able to get Stephen Fry (Malvolio) to sign my copy of Twelfth Night. I will treasure it always.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743482778, Mass Market Paperback)

Each edition includes:

• Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

• Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

• Scene-by-scene plot summaries

• A key to famous lines and phrases

• An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

• An essay by an outstanding scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

• Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by Catherine Belsey

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:47 -0400)

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Shakespeare's Twelfth Night presented in a Manga style.

(summary from another edition)

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Audible.com

Seven editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140714898, 0141014709

Yale University Press

An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

Two editions of this book were published by Recorded Books.

Editions: 1456100033, 1449889646

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