“Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare

51Ax5ADsdxLFiction — print. Washington Square Press, 2011. Originally published 1601. 272 pgs. Library copy.

Also knows as “What You Will”, this comedy by Shakespeare is set around the close of the Christmas season known as Twelfth Night. The lead character, Viola, is shipwrecked on the island of Illyria. Convinced her brother, Sebastian, drowned at sea, Viola masquerades as a young page by the name of Cesario in servitude to the Duke Orsino.

Desperate to win the hand of the beautiful but bereaved Lady Olivia, Duke Orsino sends Cesario to woo the woman in his stead. Unfortunately, Lady Olivia falls in love with Cesario, not realizing that the young page is actually a young woman. Viola is distraught over this turn of events largely because she is in love with the Duke Orsino.

Another Shakespearean play, another case of mistaken identity. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud over the antics of the characters in this play. The trick played on Malvolio, despite being rather mean spirited and merely the subplot, was humorous and distracting from the main plot. Such lively scenes with witty people playing fools and fools playing witty people.

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