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Twelfth Night

William Shakespeare

Contents

Act I, scenes i–ii

page 2 of 2

Act I, scenes i–ii

Act I, scenes i–ii

Act I, scenes i–ii

Act I, scenes i–ii

Meanwhile, Viola’s decision to disguise herself as a young man in order to find a job seems somewhat improbable. Surely this elaborate ploy isn’t necessary; even if Orsino only hires young men, there must be ladies other than Olivia in Illyria who are hiring servants. But Viola’s act of disguising herself generates an endless number of interesting situations to advance the plot. Shakespeare’s comedies frequently rely on similar improbabilities, ranging from absurd coincidences to identical twins. We can interpret Viola’s disguise as something that makes the unprotected young woman feel safer in the strange land into which she has wandered. When she first describes her plan in this scene, she asks the ship’s captain to disguise her as a eunuch—a castrated man. This part of the plan is never mentioned again, and Shakespeare seems to have changed his mind or forgotten about it: Viola later presents herself as simply a delicate young man. Still, the idea of a eunuch is important to the play, since it stands as yet another symbol of gender uncertainty.

In noting the gender confusion that pervades Twelfth Night, it is important to realize that, for Shakespeare’s audiences, the idea of a girl successfully disguising herself as a boy wasn’t as ludicrous as it might seem to us. In Shakespeare’s day, all the parts in a play were acted by men: women weren’t allowed to perform on the English stage until the late 1600s, more than half a century after Shakespeare flourished. Thus, every acting company included several delicate young boys, who played the female characters. Renaissance audiences were open to the idea that a young man could convincingly disguise himself as a woman, and vice versa. Such fluidity in portraying characters of either gender adds an extra dimension to the complexity of Shakespeare’s cross-dressing characters.

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ACT I, SCENES I–II QUIZ

Olivia refuses to marry for how long?
Ten years
Three years
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Q. Consider Twelfth Night as a romantic comedy.

by touhidsm, May 02, 2014

Answer: William Shakespeare has written a number of romantic comedies. Twelfth Night is one of the finest comedies of the author. We know that a romantic comedy is a play in which the romantic elements are mingled with comic elements. It is a form of comedy which deals with love. Love at first sight is often its main theme.
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Q. "Twelfth Night is a typical romantic comedy of Shakespeare." Discuss. Or. What aspects of Twelfth Night justify its being called a romantic play? Or. Critically comment on Twelfth Night as a romantic comedy. Or. Consider Twelfth Night as a romantic

by touhidsm, May 02, 2014

Ans: William Shakespeare has written a number of romantic comedies. Twelfth Night is one of the finest comedies of the author. We know that a romantic comedy is a play in which the romantic elements are mingled with comic elements. It is a form of comedy which deals with love. Love at first sight is often its main theme. Generally, a romantic comedy starts with some problems that make the union of the lover difficult. But it ends with their happy union. Twelfth Night is a typical romantic play of Shakespeare. It has some elements which give ... Read more

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60 out of 68 people found this helpful

Twelfth Night as a romantic comedy

by touhidsm, May 04, 2014

Answer: William Shakespeare has written a number of romantic comedies. Twelfth Night is one of the finest comedies of the author. We know that a romantic comedy is a play in which the romantic elements are mingled with comic elements. It is a form of comedy which deals with love. Love at first sight is often its main theme. Generally, a romantic comedy starts with some problems that make the union of the lover difficult. But it ends with their happy union. Twelfth Night is a typical romantic play of Shakespeare. It has some elements which gi... Read more

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23 out of 27 people found this helpful

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