Home Page Button Syllabus / Policies Button Composition Button Grammar Button Rhetoric Button Rhetoric Button Literature button poetry button classical button medieval button Renaissance Button Vocabulary Button

 

 

Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (excerpts from The Longman Anthology):

Vocabulary apostrophe, aposeipesis, aside, bad quarto, chronicle, fair copy, folio, fool, foul papers, hubris, machiavelle, machiavellian, partible succession, Roman stoicism, scene, setting, soliloquy, terminus a quo, terminus ad quem

Introduction:

Lecture:

TBA

Character Identification: Viola, Olivia, Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Maria, Malvolio, Sebastian

Reading Questions:

  • Why is Viola so depressed when she first arrives in Illyria?
  • Why has Olivia refused to receive any suitors for the past seven years?
  • How is Malvolio typically costumed on stage? What religious background does he come from?
  • Why do Maria, Sir Belch, and Sir Aguecheek dislike Malvolio? What is Malvolio's attitude to the partying and drinking and singing that occurs during the Christmas season?
  • What unusual linguistic traits do Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek display in their conversation in order to appear learned and intelligent?
  • What is the prank that Mariah and the Knights play on Malvolio? Why does Malvolio think Olivia loves him?
  • Throughout the text of Twelfth Night, the word "God" has been replaced by "Jove." What legislation does this reflect between 1606-1609?
  • How does Viola respond to the accusation that her words have been lies in Act V, scene i?
  • What is her defense?
  • What confusion occurs when Sebastian appears in Illyria?
  • Who falls in love with Viola while she is in disguise? Why is that obviously disconcerting to her?
  • Why is Malvolio locked up and imprisoned?
  • Who does Valentine describe in the following lines?
    So please my lord, I might not be admitted;
    But from her handmaid do return this answer:
    The element itself, till seven years' heat,
    Shall not behold her face at ample view;
    But, like a cloistress, she will veiled walk
    And water once a day her chamber round
    With eye-offending brine: all this to season
    A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh
    And lasting in her sad remembrance.
  • Why does Malvolio begin wearing cross-garters, dressing in yellow, and smiling all the time around Olivia? What is ironic in his choice of clothing in terms of his intent and its actual affect on Olivia?
  • Whom does Olivia fall in love with during the first part of the play while Duke Orsino woos her? Why is that relationship by its very nature doomed to failure?
  • How does the Clown Feste mock the process of love in his songs and jokes? Give one example.

Passage Identifications: Be able to identify and discuss the following passages. I might ask questions such as, "Who is speaking and what is he discussing?" "Who or what is being described?" "What is significant or important about this passage when it comes to understanding the play?" I might also ask you to paraphrase the passage at length, or briefly summarize it.

A. 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.

B. O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame
To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
How will she love, when the rich golden shaft
Hath kill'd the flock of all affections else
That live in her; when liver, brain and heart,
These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and fill'd
Her sweet perfections with one self king!

C. Speaker #1: What country, friends, is this?
Speaker #2: This is Illyria, lady.
Speaker #1: And what should I do in Illyria?
My brother he is in Elysium.
Perchance he is not drown'd: what think you, sailors?

D. Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke:
Thou shall present me as an eunuch to him:
It may be worth thy pains; for I can sing
And speak to him in many sorts of music
That will allow me very worth his service.
What else may hap to time I will commit;
Only shape thou thy silence to my wit.

E. Dear lad, believe it;
For they shall yet belie thy happy years,
That say thou art a man: Diana's lip
Is not more smooth and rubious; thy small pipe
Is as the maiden's organ, shrill and sound,
And all is semblative a woman's part.
I know thy constellation is right apt
For this affair.

F. I'll do my best
To woo your lady:
[Aside]
yet, a barful strife!
Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife.

G. Speaker #1: I think his soul is in hell, madonna.
Speaker #2: I know his soul is in heaven, fool.
Speaker #1: The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother's
soul being in heaven. Take away the fool, gentlemen.

H. I marvel your ladyship takes delight in such a
barren rascal: I saw him put down the other day
with an ordinary fool that has no more brain
than a stone. Look you now, he's out of his guard
already; unless you laugh and minister occasion to
him, he is gagged. I protest, I take these wise men,
that crow so at these set kind of fools, no better
than the fools' zanies.

I. Not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for
a boy; as a squash is before 'tis a peascod, or a
cooling when 'tis almost an apple: 'tis with him
in standing water, between boy and man. He is very
well-favoured and he speaks very shrewishly; one
would think his mother's milk were scarce out of him.

J. Poor lady, she were better love a dream.
Disguise, I see, thou art a wickedness,
Wherein the pregnant enemy does much.
How easy is it for the proper-false
In women's waxen hearts to set their forms!
Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we!
For such as we are made of, such we be.
How will this fadge? my master loves her dearly;
And I, poor monster, fond as much on him;
And she, mistaken, seems to dote on me.
What will become of this? As I am man,
My state is desperate for my master's love;
As I am woman,--now alas the day!--
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
O time! thou must untangle this, not I;
It is too hard a knot for me to untie!\

K. My masters, are you mad? or what are you? Have ye
no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like
tinkers at this time of night? Do ye make an
alehouse of my lady's house, that ye squeak out your
coziers' catches without any mitigation or remorse
of voice? Is there no respect of place, persons, nor
time in you? . . . .
Sir Toby, I must be round with you. My lady bade me
tell you, that, though she harbours you as her
kinsman, she's nothing allied to your disorders. If
you can separate yourself and your misdemeanors, you
are welcome to the house; if not, an it would please
you to take leave of her, she is very willing to bid
you farewell.

L. The devil a puritan that he is, or any thing
constantly, but a time-pleaser; an affectioned ass,
that cons state without book and utters it by great
swarths: the best persuaded of himself, so
crammed, as he thinks, with excellencies, that it is
his grounds of faith that all that look on him love
him; and on that vice in him will my revenge find
notable cause to work.

M. I will drop in his way some obscure epistles of
love; wherein, by the colour of his beard, the shape
of his leg, the manner of his gait, the expressure
of his eye, forehead, and complexion, he shall find
himself most feelingly personated. I can write very
like my lady your niece: on a forgotten matter we
can hardly make distinction of our hands.

N. Too old by heaven: let still the woman take
An elder than herself: so wears she to him,
So sways she level in her husband's heart:
For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
Than women's are.

O. 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 call'd 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.

P. A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more: but indeed
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.

Q. 'Tis but fortune; all is fortune. Maria once told
me she did affect me: and I have heard herself come
thus near, that, should she fancy, it should be one
of my complexion. Besides, she uses me with a more
exalted respect than any one else that follows her.
What should I think on't?

R. I extend my hand to him thus, quenching my familiar
smile with an austere regard of control,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Saying, 'Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me on
your niece give me this prerogative of speech,'--
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
'You must amend your drunkenness.'S. 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-devise 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 me 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!

T. Speaker #1: I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,
Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.
Do not extort thy reasons from this clause,
For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause,
But rather reason thus with reason fetter,
Love sought is good, but given unsought better.
Speaker #2: By innocence I swear, and by my youth
I have one heart, one bosom and one truth,
And that no woman has; nor never none
Shall mistress be of it, save I alone.
And so adieu, good madam: never more
Will I my master's tears to you deplore.

U. If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourself
into stitches, follow me. Yond gull Malvolio is
turned heathen, a very renegado; for there is no
Christian, that means to be saved by believing
rightly, can ever believe such impossible passages
of grossness. He's in yellow stockings.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Most villanously; like a pedant that keeps a school
i' the church. I have dogged him, like his
murderer. He does obey every point of the letter
that I dropped to betray him: he does smile his
face into more lines than is in the new map with the
augmentation of the Indies: you have not seen such
a thing as 'tis. I can hardly forbear hurling things
at him. I know my lady will strike him: if she do,
he'll smile and take't for a great favour.

V. Dost thou think that because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?

W. Come, we'll have him in a dark room and bound. My
niece is already in the belief that he's mad: we
may carry it thus, for our pleasure and his penance,
till our very pastime, tired out of breath, prompt
us to have mercy on him: at which time we will
bring the device to the bar and crown thee for a
finder of madmen. But see, but see.

X. Lady, you have. Pray you, peruse that letter.
You must not now deny it is your hand:
Write from it, if you can, in hand or phrase;
Or say 'tis not your seal, nor your invention:
You can say none of this: well, grant it then
And tell me, in the modesty of honour,
Why you have given me such clear lights of favour,
Bade me come smiling and cross-garter'd to you,
To put on yellow stockings and to frown
Upon Sir Toby and the lighter people;
And, acting this in an obedient hope,
Why have you suffer'd me to be imprison'd,
Kept in a dark house, visited by the priest,
And made the most notorious geck and gull
That e'er invention play'd on? tell me why.

Y. Alas, Malvolio, this is not my writing,
Though, I confess, much like the character
But out of question 'tis Maria's hand.
And now I do bethink me, it was she
First told me thou wast mad; then camest in smiling,
And in such forms which here were presupposed
Upon thee in the letter. Prithee, be content:
This practise hath most shrewdly pass'd upon thee;
But when we know the grounds and authors of it,
Thou shalt be both the plaintiff and the judge
Of thine own cause.

Z. Sooth, but you must.
Say that some lady, as perhaps there is,
Hath for your love a great a pang of heart
As you have for Olivia: you cannot love her;
You tell her so; must she not then be answer'd?

AA. [Whose words does Fabian read, below?]
'By the Lord, madam, you wrong me, and the
world shall know it: though you have put me into
darkness and given your drunken cousin rule over
me, yet have I the benefit of my senses as well as
your ladyship. I have your own letter that induced
me to the semblance I put on; with the which I doubt
not but to do myself much right, or you much shame.
Think of me as you please. I leave my duty a little
unthought of and speak out of my injury.


 

 

To Home Page
Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2017. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated January 5, 2017. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.