Substantive Education

Twelfth Night…Study Sheet

NOTE: The test in Shakespeare are largely to see how well the Sr. High Students are doing. Much of this analysis will be over the head of younger students. They are learning the plots, characters, and to enjoy the play and that is all I want for them. They are welcome to take the tests and see how they do, but they should not expect (or be expected) to analyze the works at this level.

Here are some questions that will be on the test…you will not have to answer all of them, but I will allow you some choice. If you are comfortable with these you will be fine.

1. Disguises and changes of clothing are central to the plot of Twelfth Night. Which characters in the play spend time in disguise, and how is this thematically important?

2. Twelfth Night, the holiday after which the play is named, was celebrated as a festival in which everything was turned topsy-turvy, with traditional social roles and behavior temporarily suspended. Are things similarly turned upside down in Illyria?

3. How is romantic love depicted in the play? What points does Shakespeare seem to be making about romance?

4. Discuss the role of mistaken identity in Twelfth Night. Who is mistaken for whom, and what do these mix-ups signify?

5.Paying particular attention to the fate of Malvolio and Antonio, discuss how Shakespeare brings some ambiguous touches to the happy ending.

6. Compare Orsino and Olivia, and discuss how their attitudes about strong emotions are similar or different. What does Shakespeare suggest about the nature of love and other powerful feelings in his portrayal of these two characters?

Here are Four sections of the play. Choose two and tell where in the plot these lines were spoken, who was speaking, and what the significance of the lines is.

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.
[Music ceases]
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, naught enters there,
Of what validity and pitch so e’er,
But falls into abatement and low price
Even in a minute! So full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.

There is no woman’s sides
Can bide the beating of so strong a passion
As love doth give my heart; no woman’s heart
So big, to hold so much. They lack retention.
Alas, their love may be called appetite,
No motion of the liver, but the palate,
That suffer surfeit, cloyment, and revolt.
But mine is all as hungry as the sea,
And can digest as much. Make no compare
Between that love a woman can bear me
And that I owe Olivia.

Daylight and champaign discovers not more. This is open. I will be proud, I will read politic authors, I will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off gross acquaintance, I will be point-device the very man. I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade me; for every reason excites to this, that my lady loves me. She did commend my yellow stockings of late, she did praise my leg, being cross-gartered, and in this she manifests herself to my love, and with a kind of injunction drives to these habits of her liking. I thank my stars, I am happy. I will be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and cross-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting on. Jove and my stars be praised

A. If this be so, as yet the glass seems true,
I shall have share in this most happy wrack.
[To Viola] Boy, thou hast said to me a
thousand times
Thou never shouldst love woman like to me.

B. And all those sayings will I overswear,
And all those swearings keep as true in soul
As doth that orbèd continent the fire
That severs day from night.
A. Give me thy hand,
And let me see thee in thy woman’s weed

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